Sepsis survivors exhibit impaired responsiveness to antigen (Ag) challenge associated with increased mortality from infection. The contribution of follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) in the impaired humoral response in sepsis-surviving mice is investigated in this study. We demonstrated that mice subjected to sepsis from cecal ligation and puncture (CLP mice) have reduced NP-specific high-affinity class-switched Ig antibodies (Abs) compared with sham-operated control mice following immunization with the T cell–dependent Ag, NP-CGG. NP-specific germinal center (GC) B cells in CLP mice exhibited reduced TNF-α and AID mRNA expression compared with sham-operated mice. CLP mice showed a reduction in FDC clusters, a reduced binding of immune complexes on FDCs, and reduced mRNA expression of CR2, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, FcγRIIB, TNFR1, IKK2, and LTβR compared with sham-operated mice. Adoptive transfer studies showed that there was no B cell–intrinsic defect. In summary, our data suggest that the reduced Ag-specific Ab response in CLP mice is secondary to a disruption in FDC and GC B cell function.
Minakshi Rana, Andrea La Bella, Rivka Lederman, Bruce T. Volpe, Barbara Sherry, Betty Diamond