CD11b high B Cells Increase after Stroke and Regulate Microglia

J Immunol. 2022 Jun 22;ji2100884. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.2100884. Online ahead of print.


Recent studies have highlighted the deleterious contributions of B cells to post-stroke recovery and cognitive decline. Different B cell subsets have been proposed on the basis of expression levels of transcription factors (e.g., T-bet) as well as specific surface proteins. CD11b (α-chain of integrin) is expressed by several immune cell types and is involved in regulation of cell motility, phagocytosis, and other essential functions of host immunity. Although B cells express CD11b, the CD11bhigh subset of B cells has not been well characterized, especially in immune dysregulation seen with aging and after stroke. Here, we investigate the role of CD11bhigh B cells in immune responses after stroke in young and aged mice. We evaluated the ability of CD11bhigh B cells to influence pro- and anti-inflammatory phenotypes of young and aged microglia (MG). We hypothesized that CD11bhigh B cells accumulate in the brain and contribute to neuroinflammation in aging and after stroke. We found that CD11bhigh B cells are a heterogeneous subpopulation of B cells predominantly present in naive aged mice. Their frequency increases in the brain after stroke in young and aged mice. Importantly, CD11bhigh B cells regulate MG phenotype and increase MG phagocytosis in both ex vivo and in vivo settings, likely by production of regulatory cytokines (e.g., TNF-α). As both APCs and adaptive immune cells with long-term memory function, B cells are uniquely positioned to regulate acute and chronic phases of the post-stroke immune response, and their influence is subset specific.