Marginal zone B cells control the response of follicular helper T cells to a high-cholesterol diet

18 Oct 2017

Splenic marginal zone B (MZB) cells, positioned at the interface between circulating blood and lymphoid tissue, detect and respond to blood-borne antigens. Here we show that MZB cells in mice activate a homeostatic program in response to a high-cholesterol diet (HCD) and regulate both the differentiation and accumulation of T follicular helper (TFH) cells. Feeding mice an HCD resulted in upregulated MZB cell surface expression of the immunoregulatory ligand PDL1 in an ATF3-dependent manner and increased the interaction between MZB cells and pre-TFH cells, leading to PDL1-mediated suppression of TFH cell motility, alteration of TFH cell differentiation, reduced TFH abundance and suppression of the proatherogenic TFH response. Our findings reveal a previously unsuspected role for MZB cells in controlling the TFH–germinal center response to a cholesterol-rich diet and uncover a PDL1-dependent mechanism through which MZB cells use their innate immune properties to limit an exaggerated adaptive immune response.