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Immunology. 2005 Dec;116(4):454-63.

Differential responses of human B-lymphocyte subpopulations to graded levels of CD40-CD154 interaction.

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Héma-Québec, Ingénierie Cellulaire, Recherche et Développement, Sainte-foy, Canada.


Naïve and memory B-lymphocyte populations are activated by CD154 interaction through cell-surface CD40. This interaction plays an important role in the regulation of the humoral immune response, and increasing evidence indicates that fine variation in CD40 binding influences B lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells in murine models. Here we have investigated whether and how variations in the intensity of the CD40-CD154 interaction could contribute to differential regulation of human B-lymphocyte populations. Proliferation and differentiation of B lymphocytes were monitored in response to graded levels of CD40 stimulation in the presence of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4 and IL-10. Our results show that the level of CD154 binding to CD40 on B lymphocytes can directly influence the evolution of CD19(+) CD27(-) and CD19(+) CD27(+) cell populations. Furthermore, proliferation, global expansion of CD19(+) cells and emergence of CD38(++) CD138(+) cells, as well as immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM secretion, were affected by the level of exposure of B lymphocytes to CD154. These results suggest that the CD40-CD154 interaction is more like a rheostat than an on/off switch, and its variation of intensity may play a role in the regulation of B-lymphocyte activation following the primary and/or secondary humoral immune response.

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