Induction of isotype switching and Ig production by CD5+ and CD10+ human fetal B cells

Juha Punnonen, Gregorio G. Aversa, Bart Vandekerckhove, Maria Grazia Roncarolo, Jan E. De Vries

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In the present study the capacity of early fetal B cells to produce Ig was investigated. It is shown that B cells from fetal liver, spleen, and bone marrow (BM) can be induced to produce IgM, IgG, IgG4, and IgE, but not IgA, in response to IL-4 in the presence of anti-CD40 mAb or cloned CD4+ T cells. Even splenic B cells from a human fetus of only 12 wk of gestation produced these Ig isotypes. IFN-α, IFN-γ, and transforming growth factor-β inhibited IL-4-induced IgE production in fetal B cells, as described for mature B cells. The majority of B cells in fetal spleen expressed CDS and CD10 and >99% of B cells in fetal BM were CD10+. Highly purified CD10+,CD19+ immature B cells and CD5+,CD19+ B cells could be induced to produce Ig, including IgG4 and IgE, in similar amounts as unseparated CD19+ B cells. Virtually all CD19+ cells still expressed CD10 after 12 days of culture. However, the IgE-producing cells at the end of the culture period were found in the CD19-,CD10- cell population, suggesting differentiation of CD19+,CD10+ B cells into CD19-,CD10- plasma cells. Pre-B cells are characterized by their lack of expression of surface IgM (sIgM). Only 30 to 40% of BM B cells expressed sIgM. However, in contrast to sIgM+,CD10+,CD19+ immature B cells, sorted sIgM-,CD10+,CD19+ pre-B cells failed to differentiate into Ig-secreting cells under the present culture conditions. Addition of IL-6 to these cultures was ineffective. Taken together, these results indicate that fetal CD5+ and CD10+ B cells are mature in their capacity to be induced to Ig isotype switching in vitro as soon as they express sIgM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3398-3404
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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