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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1994 Jul 29;202(2):710-4.

Ceramide mediates the apoptotic response of WEHI 231 cells to anti-immunoglobulin, corticosteroids and irradiation.

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Department of Pathology, University of Chicago, IL 60637.


We demonstrate for the first time how immature B cells kill themselves. Ceramide is identified as the mediator of apoptosis in the murine B lymphoma line WEHI 231 commonly used as a model to study clonal deletion in B lymphocytes. We show that exogenous ceramide induces apoptosis in WEHI 231 cells. To maintain self tolerance, immature lymphocytes readily undergo apoptotic death in response to the cross-linking of their antigen-specific receptors. We demonstrate that endogenously produced ceramide accumulates in WEHI 231 cells exposed to anti-IgM, an antigen surrogate before the onset of apoptosis. We also show that two other inducers of apoptosis, irradiation and dexamethasone, cause intracellular accumulation of ceramide.

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