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J Immunol. 2000 Nov 15;165(10):5518-29.

Mac-1-negative B-1b phenotype of natural antibody-producing cells, including those responding to Gal alpha 1,3Gal epitopes in alpha 1,3-galactosyltransferase-deficient mice.

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Transplantation Biology Research Center, Surgical Service, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02129, USA.


Human natural Abs against Galalpha1-3Galbeta1-4GlcNAc (Gal) epitopes are a major barrier to xenotransplantation. Studies in this report, which use combined multiparameter flow cytometric sorting and enzyme-linked immunospot assay, demonstrate that anti-Gal IgM-producing cells are found exclusively in a small B cell subpopulation (i.e., CD21(-/low) IgM(high) B220(low) CD5(-) Mac-1(-) 493(-) cells) in the spleens of alpha1, 3-galactosyltransferase-deficient mice. All IgM-producing cells were detected in a similar splenic subpopulation of alpha1, 3-galactosyltransferase-deficient and wild-type mice. A higher frequency of B cells with anti-Gal surface IgM receptors was observed in the peritoneal cavity than in the spleen, but these did not actively secrete Abs, and showed phenotypic properties of B-1b cells (CD21(-/low) IgM(high) CD5(-) CD43(+) Mac-1(+)). However, these became Mac-1(-) and developed anti-Gal Ab-producing activity after in vitro culture with LPS. The splenic B cells with anti-Gal receptors consisted of both Mac-1(+) B-1b cells and Mac-1(-) B-1b-like cells. The latter comprised most anti-Gal IgM-producing cells. Our studies indicate that anti-Gal natural IgM Abs are produced by a B1b-like, Mac-1(-) splenic B cell population and not by plasma cells or B-1a cells. They are consistent with a model whereby B-1b cells lose Mac-1 expression upon Ag exposure and that these, rather than plasma cells, become the major IgM Ab-producing cell population.

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