B lymphocytes play a role in inhibiting the immune response against certain tumors, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. EMT-6 mammary tumors grow well in wild-type (WT) mice but show reduced growth in B-cell-deficient μ(-/-) BALB/c mice (BCDM). WT mice demonstrate extensive B-cell infiltration into the tumor bed, reduced CD8(+) T cell and CD49(+) NK cell infiltration, and markedly reduced cytolytic T-cell response relative to BCDM. Expression of LAP/TGF-β1, CD80, CD86 and PD-L1 is significantly increased in tumor-infiltrating B cells (TIL-B) relative to splenic B cells. LAP/TGF-β1 expression on TIL-B progressively increased from 5.4±1.7% on day 8 to 43.1±6.1% by day 21 post tumor implantation. Co-culture of EMT-6 tumor cells with Naive-B cells ex vivo generated B cells (EMT6-B) with a similar immunophenotype to TIL-B. Purified TIL-B, or in-vitro-generated EMT6-B suppressed CD4(+), CD8(+) and CD4(+)CD25(-) T-cell proliferation, and Th1 cytokine secretion, and also suppressed purified NK-cell proliferation in response to IL-15, compared to naive splenic B cells. Acquired B regulatory function required direct tumor cell: B-cell contact, and was partially reversed by antibody to TGF-β or PD-L1, leading to tumor rejection in vivo B-cell acquisition of a suppressive phenotype following tumor infiltration may result in profound inhibition of T-cell anti-tumor responses.
Keywords: B regulatory cells; PD-L1; TGF-β; anti-tumor response.
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