Imiquimod and R-848 are members of a family of immune response modifiers that stimulate cytokine production in monocyte/macrophages and dendritic cell cultures. This study evaluated the effects of the imidazoquinolines, imiquimod and R-848, on B lymphocyte activation. Both agents induced proliferation of murine T-cell-depleted and highly purified splenic B cell preparations as well as purified human B cells. Resting and activated B cells responded to these agents, with activated cells responding more efficiently. B cells from the LPS-hyporesponsive C3H/HeJ mice and guanosine-hyporesponsive SJL mice proliferated in response to imiquimod and R-848, indicating a different mechanism of action than lipopolysaccharide and guanine nucleosides. B cells were also stimulated by imiquimod and R-848 to produce increased immunoglobulin levels. Increased expression of a number of B cell activation markers were seen following imiquimod or R-848 stimulation. Finally, R-848 was shown to act as a vaccine adjuvant enhancing OVA-specific IgG2a levels while suppressing total IgE. These results indicate that R-848 and imiquimod are potent activators of B lymphocytes and are capable of augmenting antigen-specific immunoglobulin production.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.