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J Immunol. 2001 Aug 1;167(3):1387-92.

A common pathway for dendritic cell and early B cell development.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


B cells and dendritic cells (DCs) each develop from poorly described progenitor cells in the bone marrow (BM). Although a subset of DCs has been proposed to arise from lymphoid progenitors, a common developmental pathway for B cells and BM-derived DCs has not been clearly identified. To address this possibility, we performed a comprehensive analysis of DC differentiative potential among lymphoid and B lymphoid progenitor populations in adult mouse BM. We found that both the common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), shown here and elsewhere to give rise exclusively to lymphocytes, and a down-stream early B-lineage precursor population devoid of T and NK cell precursor potential each give rise to DCs when exposed to the appropriate cytokines. This result contrasts with more mature B-lineage precursors, all of which failed to give rise to detectable numbers of DCs. Significantly, both CLP and early B-lineage-derived DCs acquired several surface markers associated with functional DCs, and CLP-derived DCs readily induced proliferation of allogeneic CD4(+) T cells. Surprisingly, however, DC differentiation from both lymphoid-restricted progenitors was accompanied by up-regulation of CD11b expression, a cell surface molecule normally restricted to myeloid lineage cells including putative myeloid DCs. Together, these data demonstrate that loss of DC developmental potential is the final step in B-lineage commitment and thus reveals a previously unrecognized link between early B cell and DC ontogeny.

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