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J Immunol. 1995 Jun 1;154(11):5746-56.

Regulation of germinal center B cell differentiation. Role of the human APO-1/Fas (CD95) molecule.

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INSERM Unit 404, Institut Pasteur de Lyon, France.


We previously described the existence of a tonsillar IgD- B cell subset with memory B cell features. To test the possibility that these cells could derive from germinal center (GC) B cell precursors, we examined the proliferation, differentiation, and phenotype of GC B cells after culturing with either anti-CD40 Abs or activated T cells, presumably mimicking the signals received by centrocytes in the light zone of GC. We show in this work that GC B cells proliferate and secrete Igs in both activation systems, thus indicating that CD40 ligation is also required for differentiation of GC B cells along the plasmacytoid pathway. T cell-dependent activation of GC B cells induced down-regulation of most GC-related markers (CD10, CD38, and CD77) and up-regulation of CD44 and CD62-L which are both expressed on the putative memory B cells subset. Moreover, T cell-mediated stimulation of GC B cells resulted in the strong induction of CD5 and up-regulation of APO-1/Fas (CD95). In contrast, stimulation performed with immobilized anti-CD40 Abs did not affect expression of CD10 and CD38 and failed to induce CD62-L and CD5, suggesting that the CD40 signaling pathway is necessary but not sufficient for the development of memory B cells. CD95 ligation on GC B cells was found to antagonize the stimulatory effect of immobilized anti-CD40 Abs on their proliferation, survival, and Bcl-2 expression. The possible role of CD95 in the expansion and selection of the Ag-activated B cell clones in GC is discussed.

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