A Possible Physiological Role of Caspase-11 During Germinal Center Reaction

  • Published : 2008.09.30


Caspase-11 has been known as a dual regulator of cytokine maturation and apoptosis. Although the role of caspase-11 under pathological conditions has been well documented, its physiological role has not been studied much. In the present study, we investigated a possible physiological function of caspase-11 during immune response. In the absence of caspase-11, immunized spleen displayed increased cellularity and abnormal germinal center structure with disrupted microarchitecture. The rate of cell proliferation and apoptosis in the immunized spleen was not changed in the caspase-11-deficient mice. Furthermore, the caspase-11-deficient peritoneal macrophages showed normal phagocytotic activity. However, caspase-11-/-splenocytes and macrophages showed defective migrating capacity. The dysregulation of cell migration did not seem to be mediated by caspase-3, interleukin-$1{\alpha}$ or interleukin-$1{\beta}$ which acts downstream of caspase-11. These results suggest that a direct regulation of immune cell migration by caspase-11 is critical for the formation of germinal center microarchitecture during immune response. However, humoral immunity in the caspase-11-deficient mice was normal, suggesting the formation of germinal center structure is not essential for the affinity maturation of the antibodies.


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