Mast cells control the expansion and differentiation of IL-10-competent B cells

Francesca Mion, Federica D'Incà, Luca Danelli, Barbara Toffoletto, Carla Guarnotta, Barbara Frossi, Alessia Burocchi, Alice Rigoni, Norbert Gerdes, Esther Lutgens, Claudio Tripodo, Mario P. Colombo, Juan Rivera, Gaetano Vitale, Carlo E. Pucillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discovery of B cell subsets with regulatory properties, dependent on IL-10 production, has expanded our view on the mechanisms that control inflammation. Regulatory B cells acquire the ability to produce IL-10 in a stepwise process: first, they become IL-10 competent, a poised state in which B cells are sensitive to trigger signals but do not actually express the Il-10 gene; then, when exposed to appropriate stimuli, they start producing IL-10. Even if the existence of IL-10-competent B cells is now well established, it is not yet known how different immune cell types cross talk with B cells and affect IL-10-competent B cell differentiation and expansion. Mast cells (MCs) contribute to the differentiation and influence the effector functions of various immune cells, including B lymphocytes. In this study, we explored whether MCs could play a role in the expansion of IL-10-competent B cells and addressed the in vivo relevance of MC deficiency on the generation of these cells. We show that MCs can expand IL-10-competent B cells, but they do not directly induce IL-10 production; moreover, the absence of MCs negatively affects IL-10-competent B cell differentiation. Noteworthy, our findings reveal that the CD40L/CD40 axis plays a significant role in MC-driven expansion of IL-10-competent B cells in vitro and highlight the importance of MC CD40L signaling in the colon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4568-4579
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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