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Lung-resident memory B cells protect against bacterial pneumonia

Authors: Barker, Kimberly A.; Etesami, Neelou S.; Shenoy, Anukul T.; Arafa, Emad I.; Ana, Carolina Lyon de; Smith, Nicole M. S.; Martin, Ian M. C.; Goltry, Wesley N.; Barron, Alexander M. S.; Browning, Jeffrey L.; Kathuria, Hasmeena; Belkina, Anna C.; Guillon, Antoine; Zhong, Xuemei; Crossland, Nicholas A.; Jones, Matthew R.; Quinton, Lee J.; Mizgerd, Joseph P.

Online: https://www.jci.org/articles/view/141810

Issue: J Clin Invest. 2021 Jun 1;131(11):e141810.


Lung-resident memory B cells (BRM cells) are elicited after influenza infections of mice, but connections to other pathogens and hosts — as well as their functional significance — have yet to be determined. We postulate that BRM cells are core components of lung immunity. To test this, we examined whether lung BRM cells are elicited by the respiratory pathogen pneumococcus, are present in humans, and are important in pneumonia defense. Lungs of mice that had recovered from pneumococcal infections did not contain organized tertiary lymphoid organs, but did have plasma cells and noncirculating memory B cells. The latter expressed distinctive surface markers (including CD69, PD-L2, CD80, and CD73) and were poised to secrete antibodies upon stimulation. Human lungs also contained B cells with a resident memory phenotype. In mice recovered from pneumococcal pneumonia, depletion of PD-L2+ B cells, including lung BRM cells, diminished bacterial clearance and the level of pneumococcus-reactive antibodies in the lung. These data define lung BRM cells as a common feature of pathogen-experienced lungs and provide direct evidence of a role for these cells in pulmonary antibacterial immunity.