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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Sep 17, 1996; 93(19): 10348–10353.

Interleukin 7 independent development of human B cells.


Mammalian hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) commitment and differentiation into lymphoid lineage cells proceed through a series of developmentally restricted progenitor compartments. A complete understanding of this process, and how it differs from HSC commitment and differentiation into cells of the myeloid/erythroid lineages, requires the development of model systems that support HSC commitment to the lymphoid lineages. We now describe a human bone marrow stromal cell culture that preferentially supports commitment and differentiation of human HSC to CD19+ B-lineage cells. Fluorescence activated cell sorterpurified CD34++/lineage-cells were isolated from fetal bone marrow and cultured on human fetal bone marrow stromal cells in serum-free conditions containing no exogenous cytokines. Over a period of 3 weeks, CD34++/lineage- cells underwent commitment, differentiation, and expansion into the B lineage. Progressive changes included: loss of CD34, acquisition of and graded increases in the level of cell surface CD19, and appearance of immature B cells expressing mu/kappa or mu/lambda cell surface Ig receptors. The tempo and phenotype of B-cell development was not influenced by the addition of IL-7 (10 ng/ml), or by the addition of goat anti-IL-7 neutralizing antibody. These results indicate a profound difference between mouse and human in the requirement for IL-7 in normal B-cell development, and provide an experimental system to identify and characterize human bone marrow stromal cell-derived molecules crucial for human B lymphopoiesis.

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