Susceptibility to chronic beryllium (Be) disease (CBD) is linked to HLA-DP molecules possessing a glutamic acid at the 69th position of the β-chain (βGlu69), with the most prevalent βGlu69-containing molecule being HLA-DP2. We have previously shown that HLA-DP2–transgenic (HLA-DP2–Tg) mice exposed to Be oxide (BeO) develop mononuclear infiltrates in a peribronchovascular distribution and a beryllium-specific, HLA-DP2–restricted CD4+ T cell response. In addition to T cells, B cells constituted a major portion of infiltrated leukocytes in the lung of BeO-exposed HLA-DP2–Tg mice and sequester BeO particles within ectopic lymphoid aggregates and granulomas. B cell depletion was associated with a loss of lymphoid aggregates and granulomas as well as a significant increase in lung injury in BeO-exposed mice. The protective role of B cells was innate in origin, and BeO-induced B cell recruitment to the lung was dependent on MyD88 signaling. Similar to BeO-exposed HLA-DP2–Tg mice, B cells also accumulate in the lungs of CBD subjects, located at the periphery and surrounding the granuloma. Overall, our data suggest what we believe is a novel modulatory role for B cells in the protection of the lung against sterile particulate exposure, with B cell recruitment to the inflamed lung occurring in an antigen-independent and MyD88-dependent manner.
Shaikh M. Atif, Douglas G. Mack, Amy S. McKee, Javier Rangel-Moreno, Allison K. Martin, Andrew Getahun, Lisa A. Maier, John C. Cambier, Rubin Tuder, Andrew P. Fontenot