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J Exp Med. 2001 Dec 3;194(11):1649-60.

Splenic T zone development is B cell dependent.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The factors regulating growth and patterning of the spleen are poorly defined. We demonstrate here that spleens from B cell-deficient mice have 10-fold reduced expression of the T zone chemokine, CCL21, a threefold reduction in T cell and dendritic cell (DC) numbers, and reduced expression of the T zone stromal marker, gp38. Using cell transfer and receptor blocking approaches, we provide evidence that B cells play a critical role in the early postnatal development of the splenic T zone. This process involves B cell expression of lymphotoxin (LT)alpha1beta2, a cytokine that is required for expression of CCL21 and gp38. Introduction of a B cell specific LTalpha transgene on to the LTalpha-deficient background restored splenic CCL21 and gp38 expression, DC numbers, and T zone size. This work also demonstrates that the role of B cells in T zone development is distinct from the effect of B cells on splenic T cell numbers, which does not require LTalpha1beta2. Therefore, B cells influence spleen T zone development by providing: (a) signals that promote T cell accumulation, and: (b) signals, including LTalpha1beta2, that promote stromal cell development and DC accumulation. Defects in these parameters may contribute to the immune defects associated with B cell deficiency in mice and humans.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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