B cells are exposed to high levels of CD40 ligand (CD40L, CD154) in chronic inflammatory diseases. In addition, B cells expressing both CD40 and CD40L have been identified in human diseases such as autoimmune diseases and lymphoma. However, how such constitutively CD40-activated B cells under inflammation may impact on T cell response remains unknown. Using a mouse model in which B cells express a CD40L transgene (CD40LTg) and receive autocrine CD40/CD40L signaling, we show that CD40LTg B cells stimulated memory-like CD4 and CD8 T cells to express IL-10. This IL-10 expression by CD8 T cells was dependent on IFN-I and programmed cell death protein 1, and was critical for CD8 T cells to counterregulate their overactivation. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of naive CD8 T cells in RAG-1-/- mice normally induces colitis in association with IL-17 and IFN-γ cytokine production. Using this model, we show that adoptive cotransfer of CD40LTg B cells, but not wild-type B cells, significantly reduced IL-17 response and regulated colitis in association with IL-10 induction in CD8 T cells. Thus, B cells expressing CD40L can be a therapeutic goal to regulate inflammatory CD8 T cell response by IL-10 induction.
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