B lymphocytes differentially influence acute and chronic allograft rejection in mice
The relative contributions of B lymphocytes and plasma cells during allograft rejection remain unclear. Therefore, the effects of B cell depletion on acute cardiac rejection, chronic renal rejection, and skin graft rejection were compared using CD20 or CD19 mAbs. Both CD20 and CD19 mAbs effectively depleted mature B cells, and CD19 mAb treatment depleted plasmablasts and some plasma cells. B cell depletion did not affect acute cardiac allograft rejection, although CD19 mAb treatment prevented allograft-specific IgG production. Strikingly, CD19 mAb treatment significantly reduced renal allograft rejection and abrogated allograft-specific IgG development, whereas CD20 mAb treatment did not. By contrast, B cell depletion exacerbated skin allograft rejection and augmented the proliferation of adoptively transferred alloantigen-specific CD4(+) T cells, demonstrating that B cells can also negatively regulate allograft rejection. Thereby, B cells can either positively or negatively regulate allograft rejection depending on the nature of the allograft and the intensity of the rejection response. Moreover, CD19 mAb may represent a new approach for depleting both B cells and plasma cells to concomitantly impair T cell activation, inhibit the generation of new allograft-specific Abs, or reduce preexisting allograft-specific Ab levels in transplant patients.