Maternal IgG and IgA antibodies dampen mucosal T helper cell responses in early life

To maintain a symbiotic relationship between the host and its resident intestinal microbiota, appropriate mucosal T cell responses to commensal antigens must be established. Mice acquire both IgG and IgA maternally; the former has primarily been implicated in passive immunity to pathogens while the latter mediates host-commensal mutualism. Here, we report the surprising observation that mice generate T cell-independent and largely Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent IgG2b and IgG3 antibody responses against their gut microbiota. We demonstrate that maternal acquisition of these antibodies dampens mucosal T follicular helper responses and subsequent germinal center B cell responses following birth. This work reveals a feedback loop whereby T cell-independent, TLR-dependent antibodies limit mucosal adaptive immune responses to newly acquired commensal antigens and uncovers a broader function for maternal IgG.

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