Pneumonia is a major cause of mortality worldwide and a serious problem in critical care medicine, but the immunophysiological processes that confer either protection or morbidity are not completely understood. We show that in response to lung infection, B1a B cells migrate from the pleural space to the lung parenchyma to secrete polyreactive emergency immunoglobulin M (IgM). The process requires innate response activator (IRA) B cells, a transitional B1a-derived inflammatory subset which controls IgM production via autocrine granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) signaling. The strategic location of these cells, coupled with the capacity to produce GM-CSF-dependent IgM, ensures effective early frontline defense against bacteria invading the lungs. The study describes a previously unrecognized GM-CSF-IgM axis and positions IRA B cells as orchestrators of protective IgM immunity.
© 2014 Weber et al.