Reciprocal regulation of polarized cytokine production by effector B and T cells

Nat Immunol. 2000 Dec;1(6):475-82. doi: 10.1038/82717.


Although B cells produce cytokines it is not known whether B cells can differentiate into effector subsets that secrete polarized arrays of cytokines. We have identified two populations of "effector" B cells (Be1 and Be2) that produce distinct patterns of cytokines depending on the cytokine environment in which the cells were stimulated during their primary encounter with antigen and T cells. These effector B cell subsets subsequently regulate the differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells to TH1 and TH2 cells through production of polarizing cytokines such as interleukin 4 and interferon gamma. In addition, Be1 and Be2 cells could be identified in animals that were infected with pathogens that preferentially induce a Type 1 and Type 2 immune response. Together these results suggest that, in addition to their well defined role in antibody production, B cells may regulate immune responses to infectious pathogens through their production of cytokines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nematospiroides dubius
  • Strongylida Infections / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / cytology
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / immunology


  • Cytokines