Extramedullary hematopoietic cells are present in the liver of normal neonates in the first few days of life and persist in infants with biliary atresia. Based on a previous report that liver genes are enriched by erythroid pathways, we examined the liver gene expression pattern at diagnosis and found the top 5 enriched pathways are related to erythrocyte pathobiology in children who survived with the native liver beyond 2 years of age. Using immunostaining, anti-CD71 antibodies identified CD71+ erythroid cells among extramedullary hematopoietic cells in the livers at the time of diagnosis. In mechanistic experiments, the preemptive antibody depletion of hepatic CD71+ erythroid cells in neonatal mice rendered them resistant to rhesus rotavirus–induced (RRV-induced) biliary atresia. The depletion of CD71+ erythroid cells increased the number of effector lymphocytes and delayed the RRV infection of livers and extrahepatic bile ducts. In coculture experiments, CD71+ erythroid cells suppressed the activation of hepatic mononuclear cells. These data uncover an immunoregulatory role for CD71+ erythroid cells in the neonatal liver.
Li Yang, Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Jeremy Kinder, Sing Sing Way, Bryan Donnelly, Reena Mourya, Zhenhua Luo, Jorge A. Bezerra
Phenotypic changes induced by the depletion of CD71+ cells in RRV-infected mice.