B cells can suppress autoimmunity by secreting interleukin-10 (IL-10). Although subpopulations of splenic B lineage cells are reported to express IL-10 in vitro, the identity of IL-10-producing B cells with regulatory function in vivo remains unknown. By using IL-10 reporter mice, we found that plasmablasts in the draining lymph nodes (dLNs), but not splenic B lineage cells, predominantly expressed IL-10 during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). These plasmablasts were generated only during EAE inflammation. Mice lacking plasmablasts by genetic ablation of the transcription factors Blimp1 or IRF4 in B lineage cells developed an exacerbated EAE. Furthermore, IRF4 positively regulated IL-10 production that can inhibit dendritic cell functions to generate pathogenic T cells. Our data demonstrate that plasmablasts in the dLNs serve as IL-10 producers to limit autoimmune inflammation and emphasize the importance of plasmablasts as IL-10-producing regulatory B cells.
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