We examined the role of NFκB1 in the homeostasis and function of peripheral follicular (Fo) B cells. Aging mice lacking NFκB1 (Nfκb1(-/-)) develop lymphoproliferative and multiorgan autoimmune disease attributed in large part to the deregulated activity of Nfκb1(-/-)Fo B cells that produce excessive levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6). Despite enhanced germinal center (GC) B cell differentiation, the formation of GC structures was severely disrupted in the Nfκb1(-/-)mice. Bone marrow chimeric mice revealed that the Fo B cell-intrinsic loss of NFκB1 led to the spontaneous generation of GC B cells. This was primarily the result of an increase in IL-6 levels, which promotes the differentiation of Fo helper CD4(+)T cells and acts in an autocrine manner to reduce antigen receptor and toll-like receptor activation thresholds in a population of proliferating IgM(+)Nfκb1(-/-)Fo B cells. We demonstrate that p50-NFκB1 represses Il-6 transcription in Fo B cells, with the loss of NFκB1 also resulting in the uncontrolled RELA-driven transcription of Il-6.Collectively, our findings identify a previously unrecognized role for NFκB1 in preventing multiorgan autoimmunity through its negative regulation of Il-6 gene expression in Fo B cells.
Ian Harper (Manager), Stephen Firth (Manager), Alex Fulcher (Operator), Oleks Chernyavskiy (Operator), Margaret Rzeszutek (Other), David Potter (Manager), Volker Hilsenstein (Operator), Juan Nunez-Iglesias (Other), Stephen Cody (Manager), Irena Carmichael (Operator), Betty Kouskousis (Other), Chad Johnson (Operator), Sarah Creed (Manager) & Giulia Ballerin (Operator)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)