Schistosome-induced pulmonary B cells inhibit allergic airway inflammation and display a reduced Th2-driving function

Int J Parasitol. 2017 Aug;47(9):545-554. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Chronic schistosome infections protect against allergic airway inflammation (AAI) via the induction of IL-10-producing splenic regulatory B (Breg) cells. Previous experiments have demonstrated that schistosome-induced pulmonary B cells can also reduce AAI, but act independently of IL-10. We have now further characterized the phenotype and inhibitory activity of these protective pulmonary B cells. We excluded a role for regulatory T (Treg) cell induction as putative AAI-protective mechanisms. Schistosome-induced B cells showed increased CD86 expression and reduced cytokine expression in response to Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands compared with control B cells. To investigate the consequences for T cell activation we cultured ovalbumin (OVA)-pulsed, schistosome-induced B cells with OVA-specific transgenic T cells and observed less Th2 cytokine expression and T cell proliferation compared with control conditions. This suppressive effect was preserved even under optimal T cell stimulation by anti-CD3/28. Blocking of the inhibitory cytokines IL-10 or TGF-β only marginally restored Th2 cytokine induction. These data suggest that schistosome-induced pulmonary B cells are impaired in their capacity to produce cytokines to TLR ligands and to induce Th2 cytokine responses independent of their antigen-presenting function. These findings underline the presence of distinct B cell subsets with different stimulatory or inhibitory properties even if induced by the same type of helminth.

Keywords: Allergic airway inflammation; Lung; Regulatory B cell; Schistosoma; Th2 response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Female
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Schistosomiasis / complications
  • Schistosomiasis / immunology*
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-10