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J Immunol. 1985 Mar;134(3):1516-23.

Studies of in vitro activation and differentiation of human B lymphocytes. I. Phenotypic and functional characterization of the B cell population responding to anti-Ig antibody.


Investigation of the activation of splenic B cells by anti-immunoglobulin (Ig) antibody has enabled us to characterize the anti-Ig-responsive B cell and to analyze the phenotypic changes which accompany proliferation and differentiation. The anti-Ig antibody-responsive B cell population was characterized by the expression of high levels of the B2 antigen and represented approximately 40% of splenic B cells. Brisk mitogenesis which peaked at 3 to 4 days was induced by anti-Ig antibody. The proliferative phase was characterized phenotypically by a dramatic decline in B2 antigen expression, with most cells showing no detectable B2 by 4 days post-activation. The other hallmark of this phase was de novo expression of a group of "activation antigens." These included the B cell-restricted antigens B-LAST 1, BB1, and B5, and the T cell-associated interleukin 2 receptor and T12 antigens. Concomitantly, B1, B4, and Ia expression increased, the increase being roughly proportional to the increase in cell size. After day 4, the mitogenic response progressively diminished, while Ig synthesis increased. During this differentiation phase, cell surface antigens again displayed a distinct sequence of changes. The five activation antigens and the B1, B4, and Ia antigens began to decrease. However, two markers, T10 and PCA-1, which are found on plasmacytomas, appeared and their level of expression steadily increased. These changes and the appearance of morphologically identifiable plasma cells required the presence of T cells in this system. T cell supernatants alone induced Ig secretion but did not induce expression of PCA-1 or the appearance of cells with plasma cell morphology. The culture system developed in this study has allowed us to analyze the antigenic changes following activation by anti-Ig antibody. This sequence of changes has not only permitted the identification of antigens which, by their appearance at distinct stages may have an important role in proliferation and differentiation of B cells, but also provides us with the means of studying the function of each antigen.

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