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Fed Proc. 1985 May;44(8):2475-9.

Can resting B cells present antigen to T cells?

Abstract

Antigen stimulation of T lymphocytes can occur only in the presence of an antigen-presenting cell (APC). An ever-increasing number of cell types have been found to act as APCs; these include macrophages, splenic and lymph node dendritic cells, and Langerhans' cells of the skin. Although activated B lymphocytes and B cell lymphomas are known to serve as APCs, it has been generally believed that resting B cells cannot perform this function. However, in recent studies we have found that resting B cells can indeed present soluble antigen to T cell clones as well as to antigen-primed T cells. The previous difficulty in demonstrating this activity can be explained by the finding that, in contrast to macrophages and dendritic cells, the antigen-presenting ability of resting B cells is very radiosensitive. Macrophages are usually irradiated with 2000-3300 rads to prevent them from incorporating [3H]thymidine in the T cell proliferation assay. Resting B cells, however, begin to lose presenting function at 1500 rads and have completely lost this activity at 3300 rads. It was also possible to distinguish two distinct T cell clonal phenotypes when resting B cells were used as APCs on the basis of two different assays (T cell proliferation, and B cell proliferation resulting from T cell activation). The majority of T cell clones tested were capable of both proliferating themselves and inducing the proliferation of B cells. Some T cells clones, however, could not proliferate in the presence of antigen and B cell APCs, although they were very good at inducing the proliferation of B cells. This suggests that there are two distinct pathways of T cell activation, one leading to T cell proliferation and the other leading only to the release of lymphokines (as measured by the polyclonal activation of B cells).

PMID:
3886434
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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