Differential Effects of Reactive Oxygen Species on IgG versus IgM Levels in TLR-Stimulated B Cells

Karin Margaretha Gilljam, Kristine Lillebø Holm, Muhammad Zahoor, Federica Grazia Centonze, Hesso Farhan, Heidi Kiil Blomhoff
Journal of Immunology 2020 March 18
It is becoming increasingly evident that reactive oxygen species (ROS) have critical roles as "second messengers" in cell signaling. In B cells, ROS can be generated either as a byproduct of mitochondrial respiration, as a result of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response induced by high production of Igs, or by the activation of NADPH oxidase (NOX) complexes. Having previously shown that costimulation of B cells via TLR 9 and the TLR-related receptor RP105 drives maturation of human peripheral blood B cells into Ig-producing cells, we aimed to study the role of ROS generated during this vital process. To this end, the ROS levels were either reduced by the NOX inhibitor VAS2870 or by the ROS scavenger N -acetyl cysteine (NAC). We revealed that TLR9/RP105-mediated stimulation of human B cells involved a rapid activation of NOX. Moreover, VAS2870 blocked the TLR9/RP105-induced B cell activation and thereby all Ig production. Importantly, we showed that ROS targeted by NAC was selectively required for IgG but not for IgM production. The endoplasmic reticulum stress response in the TLR9/RP105-stimulated cells was higher in IgG+ than in IgG- cells and was reduced by NAC in IgG+ cells only. Of note, we revealed that substantially higher levels of IgG than IgM were produced per cell and that IgG+ cells produced significantly higher ROS levels than IgG- cells. Taken together, our results imply that NAC-targeted ROS may be particularly important for sustaining the high Ig production in IgG+ B cells.

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