Maternal IgG and IgA Antibodies Dampen Mucosal T Helper Cell Responses in Early Life

Cell. 2016 May 5;165(4):827-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.04.055.


To maintain a symbiotic relationship between the host and its resident intestinal microbiota, appropriate mucosal T cell responses to commensal antigens must be established. Mice acquire both IgG and IgA maternally; the former has primarily been implicated in passive immunity to pathogens while the latter mediates host-commensal mutualism. Here, we report the surprising observation that mice generate T cell-independent and largely Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent IgG2b and IgG3 antibody responses against their gut microbiota. We demonstrate that maternal acquisition of these antibodies dampens mucosal T follicular helper responses and subsequent germinal center B cell responses following birth. This work reveals a feedback loop whereby T cell-independent, TLR-dependent antibodies limit mucosal adaptive immune responses to newly acquired commensal antigens and uncovers a broader function for maternal IgG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / immunology*
  • Animals, Newborn / microbiology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Milk, Human / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Toll-Like Receptors