New CMGH research reports that modifying the small white blood cells that protect against disease might help treat IBD.

CONTACT: Rachel Steigerwald

Bethesda, MD (June 15, 2015) — Modifying the small white blood cells that protect against disease might help treat immune disorders, according to a study published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the basic science journal of the American Gastroenterological Association. Specifically, researchers found that modulation of B lymphocyte function may be a means of regulating T lymphocyte function to treat immune-mediated disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Researchers uncovered the following pathway: gut bacteria stimulate intestinal B lymphocytes to release interleukin (IL)-10 that, in turn, induces development of regulatory T lymphocytes that prevent excessive inflammatory responses and limit immune-mediated disease. This signaling depends, in part, on IL-27, a member of the IL-12 cytokine family that has been linked to IBD.

“Our study elucidates previously unexplored intercellular signals by which gut microbiota regulate the mucosal immune system to prevent disease,” said lead study author Yoshiyuki Mishima, MD, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “These findings potentially could be exploited to treat patients with IBD.”

The role of B lymphocytes in producing protective antibodies that are secreted into the intestine is well-recognized. However, the contributions of B lymphocytes and their secreted products (other than antibodies) are not well understood. This mouse study shows that IL-10 and IL-27, which are secreted by B lymphocytes, regulate development of regulatory T lymphocytes.

“The work provides new insight into mechanisms by which gut bacteria drive mucosal immune homeostasis,” added Jerrold R. Turner, MD, PhD, AGAF, editor-in-chief, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

This study was funded in part by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and the National Institutes of Health.

REFERENCE: Mishima, Yoshiyuki, et al. Resident Bacteria-Stimulated Interleukin-10-Secreting B Cells Ameliorate T-Cell-Mediated Colitis by Inducing T-Regulatory-1 Cells That Require Interleukin-27 Signaling, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2015: 1(3): 295-310,

About the AGA Institute 

The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization.

About Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology

CMGH is the newest peer-reviewed journal published by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The mission of CMGH is to publish impactful digestive biology research that ranges from mechanisms of normal function to pathobiology and covers a broad spectrum of themes in gastroenterology, hepatology and pancreatology. The journal reports the latest advances in cell biology, immunology, physiology, microbiology, genetics and neurobiology of gastrointestinal, hepatobiliary, and pancreatic health and disease. For more information, visit