Human IL-10-producing B cells have diverse states that are induced from multiple B cell subsets
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Regulatory B cells (Bregs) suppress immune responses through the secretion of interleukin-10 (IL-10). This immunomodulatory capacity holds therapeutic potential, yet a definitional immunophenotype for enumeration and prospective isolation of B cells capable of IL-10 production remains elusive. Here, we simultaneously quantify cytokine production and immunophenotype in human peripheral B cells across a range of stimulatory conditions and time points using mass cytometry. Our analysis shows that multiple functional B cell subsets produce IL-10 and that no phenotype uniquely identifies IL-10+ B cells. Further, a significant portion of IL-10+ B cells co-express the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Despite this heterogeneity, operationally tolerant liver transplant recipients have a unique enrichment of IL-10+, but not TNFα+ or IL-6+, B cells compared with transplant recipients receiving immunosuppression. Thus, human IL-10-producing B cells constitute an induced, transient state arising from a diversity of B cell subsets that may contribute to maintenance of immune homeostasis.
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