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Nat Immunol. 2009 Apr;10(4):403-11. doi: 10.1038/ni.1710. Epub 2009 Mar 1.

Cannabinoid receptor 2 mediates the retention of immature B cells in bone marrow sinusoids.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California San Francisco, USA.


Immature B cells developing in the bone marrow are found in the parenchyma and sinusoids. The mechanisms that control the positioning of B cells in the sinusoids are not understood. Here we show that the integrin alpha(4)beta(1) (VLA-4) and its ligand VCAM-1 were required, whereas the chemokine receptor CXCR4 was dispensable, for sinusoidal retention of B cells. Instead, cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2), a Galpha(i) protein-coupled receptor upregulated in immature B cells, was required for sinusoidal retention. Using two-photon microscopy, we found immature B cells entering and crawling in sinusoids; these immature B cells were displaced by CB2 antagonism. Moreover, CB2-deficient mice had a lower frequency of immunoglobulin lambda-chain-positive B cells in the peripheral blood and spleen. Our findings identify unique requirements for the retention of B cells in the bone marrow sinusoidal niche and suggest involvement of CB2 in the generation of the B cell repertoire.

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