Regulatory B cells: origin, phenotype, and function

Immunity. 2015 Apr 21;42(4):607-12. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2015.04.005.


Regulatory B (Breg) cells are immunosuppressive cells that support immunological tolerance. Through the production of interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-35, and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), Breg cells suppress immunopathology by prohibiting the expansion of pathogenic T cells and other pro-inflammatory lymphocytes. Recent work has shown that different inflammatory environments induce distinct Breg cell populations. Although these findings highlight the relevance of inflammatory signals in the differentiation of Breg cells, they also raise other questions about Breg cell biology and phenotype. For example, what are the functional properties and phenotype of Breg cells? Can a Breg cell arise at every stage in B cell development? Is inflammation the primary requisite for Breg cell differentiation? Here, we use these questions to discuss the advances in understanding Breg cell biology, with a particular emphasis on their ontogeny; we propose that multiple Breg cell subsets can be induced in response to inflammation at different stages in development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / classification
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / biosynthesis
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology


  • IL10 protein, human
  • Interleukins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • interleukin-35, human
  • Interleukin-10