Polymicrobial Sepsis Chronic Immunoparalysis Is Defined by Diminished Ag-Specific T Cell-Dependent B Cell Responses

Frances V Sjaastad, Stephanie A. Condotta, Jessica A. Kotov, Kathryn A. Pape, Cody Dail, Derek B. Danahy, Tamara A. Kucaba, Lorraine T. Tygrett, Katherine A. Murphy, Javier Cabrera-Perez, Thomas J. Waldschmidt, Vladimir P. Badovinac, Thomas S. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Immunosuppression is one hallmark of sepsis, decreasing the host response to the primary septic pathogens and/or secondary nosocomial infections. CD4 T cells and B cells are among the array of immune cells that experience reductions in number and function during sepsis. "Help" from follicular helper (Tfh) CD4 T cells to B cells is needed for productive and protective humoral immunity, but there is a paucity of data defining the effect of sepsis on a primary CD4 T cell-dependent B cell response. Using the cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) mouse model of sepsis induction, we observed reduced antibody production in mice challenged with influenza A virus or TNP-KLH in alum early (2 days) and late (30 days) after CLP surgery compared to mice subjected to sham surgery. To better understand how these CD4 T cell-dependent B cell responses were altered by a septic event, we immunized mice with a Complete Freund's Adjuvant emulsion containing the MHC II-restricted peptide 2W1S56-68 coupled to the fluorochrome phycoerythrin (PE). Immunization with 2W1S-PE/CFA results in T cell-dependent B cell activation, giving us the ability to track defined populations of antigen-specific CD4 T cells and B cells responding to the same immunogen in the same mouse. Compared to sham mice, differentiation and class switching in PE-specific B cells were blunted in mice subjected to CLP surgery. Similarly, mice subjected to CLP had reduced expansion of 2W1S-specific T cells and Tfh differentiation after immunization. Our data suggest CLP-induced sepsis impacts humoral immunity by affecting the number and function of both antigen-specific B cells and CD4 Tfh cells, further defining the period of chronic immunoparalysis after sepsis induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • B cells
  • CD4 T cells
  • antibody
  • immune suppression
  • sepsis


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