Low oxygen and antibody responsesApr. 25, 2019, 9:30 AM
by Leigh MacMillan
Antibody production by B cells (humoral immunity) is a key part of our defense system against pathogens. Helper T cells interact with B cells in germinal centers — lymph tissue microstructures — to enhance antibody production and quality.
They showed that a pair of proteins that respond to low oxygen, hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), are vital to T cell help during humoral immune responses. They report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that HIFs promote antibody production by shifting the balance between different types of helper T cells and regulating T cell metabolism and cytokine production.
The findings are important for vaccine development and may have broader implications for understanding T helper cell cytokine production in pathophysiological states where hypoxia is common, such as atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, viral infection and cancer.
This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (AI113292, HL106812, OD018015, CA068485, DK020593, DK101791, DK081646).