Specialized B cells residing in the splenic marginal zone (MZ) continuously survey the blood for antigens and are important for immunity to systemic infections. However, the cues that uniquely attract cells to the MZ have not been defined. Previous work demonstrated that mice deficient in cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) have decreased numbers of MZ B cells but it has been unclear whether CB2 regulates MZ B cell development or positioning. We show that MZ B cells are highly responsive to the CB2 ligand 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) and that CB2 antagonism rapidly displaces small numbers of MZ B cells to the blood. Antagonism for longer durations depletes MZ B cells from the spleen. In mice deficient in sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor function, CB2 antagonism causes MZ B cell displacement into follicles. Moreover, CB2 overexpression is sufficient to position B cells to the splenic MZ. These findings establish a role for CB2 in guiding B cells to the MZ and in preventing their loss to the blood. As a consequence of their MZ B cell deficiency, CB2-deficient mice have reduced numbers of CD1d-high B cells. We show that CB2 deficiency results in diminished humoral responses to a CD1d-restricted systemic antigen. Submitted: 27 May 2011 Accepted: 2 August 2011 This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms ). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ ).
The Journal of Experimental Medicine – Rockefeller University Press
Published: Sep 26, 2011
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