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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Jul 1;88(13):5640-4.

Normal serum immunoglobulins participate in the selection of peripheral B-cell repertoires.

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  • 1Unité d'Immunobiologie, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


In B-cell development, expression of immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable-region (VH) gene repertoires is determined by genetic mechanisms that favor rearrangement of the most D-proximal genes, resulting in overutilization of the VH7183 gene family early in ontogeny and in differentiating B cells of the adult bone marrow. Maturation of the immune system is accompanied by a decreased expression of VH7183 genes in the peripheral immunocompetent B-cell pool of adult animals. By comparing VH gene family expression in the bone marrow (emergent) and peripheral (available and actual) B-cell repertoires of germ-free and conventionally raised BALB/c mice, we found that peripheral selection of VH gene family utilization does not occur in germ-free animals. Reconstitution of germ-free mice with normal serum immunoglobulins purified from syngeneic donors reestablishes selection of VH7183-expressing B cells. Our results indicate that preimmune B-cell repertoires are selected in normal animals by environmental antigens and serum immunoglobulins.

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