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Immunol Lett. 2000 May 1;72(2):107-11.

Role of follicular dendritic cells in the apoptosis of germinal center B cells.

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Department of Anatomy, Inje University College of Medicine, 614-735, Pusan, South Korea.


Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) provide the most obvious source of antigens, which are essential for the differentiation of GC B cells. It has been reported that most proliferating B cells in germinal centers undergo apoptosis. Quantitative histology shows macrophages with apoptotic debris throughout the germinal center, the highest frequency of these cells being found in the dense FDC network. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that FDC may be involved in an apoptotic pathway of the germinal center B cells. To prove this hypothesis, we performed double immunohistochemical analysis using anti-FDC mAb and peanut agglutinin (PNA), with their respective TUNEL kits. Collated data showed that a great proportion of the apoptotic cells, most of which were positive for PNA, were in close contact with FDC, which indicated an interaction between FDC and B cells in the apoptotic pathway. Further studies using double immunohistochemical staining and FACS analyses demonstrated the expression of Fas-ligand (FasL) in a subset of the FDC. These results suggest that FDC may play a role in the apoptosis of germinal center B cells via Fas-FasL interaction.

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