Regulation of Human B Cell Activation by Follicular Dendritic Cell and T Cell Signals

Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 201)


Follicular dendritic cells (FDC) represent a unique cell type (Nossal et al. 1968; Szakal and Hanna 1968) within the B cell follicles of the secondary lymphoid tissues. During T cell-dependent humoral immune responses, B cells undergo proliferation, somatic mutation, isotype switching, positive selection, and differentiation into memory B cells and plasma cells within the FDC networks (Berek 1992; Kosco and Gray 1992; Kroese et al. 1987; Liu et al. 1992; Maclennan 1994; Nossal 1992). The close physical contact between FDC and B cells that occurs when B cells undergo dramatic phenotypic and genetic changes suggests that FDC may be directly involved in all these events. Based on the histological observations depicted in Fig. 1, follicular B cell response can be divided into three distinct stages, in which different B cell events occur:
  1. 1.
    Exponential growth of germinal center precursor cells within the primary follicles. Germinal center reaction is initiated by the rapid proliferation of about
    three precursor cells Kroese et al. 1987; Liu et al. 1991; Jacob end Kelsoe 1992), giving rise to a germinal center containing about 1.4 x 104 cells after 4 days of immunization (Liu at al. 1991.
  2. 2.A

    A fully developed germinal center has e dark zone and a light zone. Centroblasts in the dark zone proliferate and mutate (Berek et al. 1991; Jacob et al. 1991; Koppers et al. 1993; McHeyzer-Williams et al. 1993). They give rise to non-proliferating cemrocytes in the light zone. The high-affinity centrocytes ore positively selected (Weiss et al. 1992) by antigens deposited on FIDC end differentiates 1o either memory B cells (MCHevzer-Wiumms et al. 199. 1; Schittek and Rajewsky 1992; Weiss and Rajewsky 1990) or plasma cells (Kosco et al. 1989. The low-affinity centrooytes which have failed to be selected die by apoptosio(Liu et al. 1989).

  3. 3.

    After 3-4 weeks of immunization, fully developed germinal 6entena are replaced by small follicular foci which consist of a few antigen-specific B blasts associated with immune complex networks (Liu et al. 18B1). These foci may represent the chronic stimulation of memory B cells, which are fundamental for the rnain1ainenoe of serum imrnunoglobulin (lg) level (Tew et al. 1980) and long-lived memory B cell clones (Gray and Smarvall 1988).



Germinal Center CD40 Ligand Follicular Dendritic Cell Dark Zone Light Zone 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Schering-Plough, Laboratory for Immunological ResearchDardilly CedexFrance

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