Regulation of CD11b by HIF-1α and the STAT3 signaling pathway contributes to the immunosuppressive function of B cells in inflammatory bowel disease.


Department of Immunology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, and Institutes of Biomedical Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, China; Biotherapy Research Center, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. Electronic address: [Email]


B cells have been reported to have a suppressive function in autoimmune diseases, which appears to require an increase of CD11b expression on B cells. However, little is known how CD11b is induced in B cells to play the function. In this study, we found that the high expression of CD11b in B cells occurred not only in the mucosal immune organs, but also in systemically immune organs such as the spleen during dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. Since the inflammatory lesions in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) were revealed to be significantly hypoxic or even anoxic, the B cells from colitic mice Peyer's patches (PP) were investigated to express higher levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) than naïve B cells from wildtype (WT) mice. HIF-1α siRNA transfection or HIF-1α protein inhibition led to decreased CD11b expression at both the mRNA and protein levels in vitro. B cells with HIF-1α specific knockdown were then adoptively transferred to Rag-1-/- mice. The result displayed that CD11b expression was decreased in B cells and an exacerbated colitis occurred. The bio-informatics promoter analysis and ChIP assay showed that HIF-1α was the critical transcription factor for CD11b and cooperatively formed a complex with the p-STAT3 homodimers to bind onto hypoxia-responsive element (HRE) regions, which was guaranteed by MEK/ERK pathway activation and IL-10 secretion. In conclusion, our study demonstrated the key function of the hypoxia-associated transcription factor HIF-1α together with p-STAT3 in driving CD11b transcription in B cells and controlling B cell's protective activity in experimental inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).