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Hepatic resistance to Leishmania donovani infection in mice is associated with the development of granulomas, in which a variety of lymphoid and non-lymphoid populations accumulate. Although previous studies have identified B cells in hepatic granulomas and functional studies in B cell-deficient mice have suggested a role for B cells in the control of experimental visceral leishmaniasis, little is known about the behaviour of B cells in the granuloma microenvironment. Here, we first compared the hepatic B cell population in infected mice, where ≈60% of B cells are located within granulomas, with that of naïve mice. In infected mice, there was a small increase in mIgM(lo)mIgD(+) mature B2 cells, but no enrichment of B cells with regulatory phenotype or function compared to the naïve hepatic B cell population, as assessed by CD1d and CD5 expression and by IL-10 production. Using 2-photon microscopy to quantify the entire intra-granuloma B cell population, in conjunction with the adoptive transfer of polyclonal and HEL-specific BCR-transgenic B cells isolated from L. donovani-infected mice, we demonstrated that B cells accumulate in granulomas over time in an antigen-independent manner. Intra-vital dynamic imaging was used to demonstrate that within the polyclonal B cell population obtained from L. donovani-infected mice, the frequency of B cells that made multiple long contacts with endogenous T cells was greater than that observed using HEL-specific B cells obtained from the same inflammatory environment. These data indicate, therefore, that a subset of this polyclonal B cell population is capable of making cognate interactions with T cells within this unique environment, and provide the first insights into the dynamics of B cells within an inflammatory site.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adoptive Transfer, Animals, Antigens, CD1d, B-Lymphocytes, CD5 Antigens, Disease Models, Animal, Female, Granuloma, Interleukin-10, Leishmania donovani, Leishmaniasis, Visceral, Liver, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Phenotype, T-Lymphocytes