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J Immunol. 1999 Jun 1;162(11):6510-7.

rC5a directs the in vitro migration of human memory and naive tonsillar B lymphocytes: implications for B cell trafficking in secondary lymphoid tissues.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genova, Italy.


Human C5a is a potent chemoattractant for granulocytes, monocytes, and dendritic cells. In mice C5a has been shown to be chemotactic for germinal center (GC) B cells. To date, no information is available on the effects of C5a on human B cell locomotion. Here we demonstrate that rC5a increases polarization and migration of human tonsillar B cells. The locomotory response was due to both chemokinetic and chemotactic activities of rC5a. Moreover, memory and, at a lesser extent, naive B cell fractions from purified tonsillar populations displayed rC5a-enhanced migratory properties, whereas GC cells did not. Flow cytometry revealed C5aR (CD88) on approximately 40% memory and 10% naive cells, respectively, whereas GC cells were negative. Immunohistochemistry showed that a few CD88+ cells were of the B cell lineage and localized in tonsillar subepithelial areas, where the majority of memory B cells settle. Pretreatment of memory B cells with the CD88 mAb abolished their migratory responsiveness to rC5a. Finally, the C5 gene was found to be expressed in naive, GC, and memory B lymphocytes at both the mRNA and the protein level. This study delineates a novel role for C5a as a regulator of the trafficking of human memory and naive B lymphocytes and supports the hypothesis that the B cells themselves may serve as source of C5 in secondary lymphoid tissues.

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