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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jan 16;98(2):603-8.

Soluble CD14 enriched in colostrum and milk induces B cell growth and differentiation.

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Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, and The Arthritis and Immune Disorder Research Centre, The Toronto Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 2M9.


Induction of resting B cell growth and differentiation requires a complex series of temporally coordinated signals that are initiated on contact with activated helper T cells. These signals complement one another, each rendering the B cell susceptible to factors supporting progressive activation. Here, we demonstrate that soluble CD14 (sCD14) bypasses the physiological sequelae of events that limit B cell activation. B cell growth and differentiation in vitro is induced by both native and recombinant forms of sCD14 at nanomolar concentrations. sCD14-mediated cellular activation does not require membrane CD14 expression, depends on a region of CD14 that is not involved in lipopolysaccharide binding, and requires functional Toll-like receptor 4. Consistent with biological activity of sCD14 in vitro, its administration to neonatal mice enhances Ig secretion. The results presented establish sCD14 as a naturally occurring soluble B cell mitogen of mammalian origin.

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