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Eur J Immunol. 1993 Dec;23(12):3272-7.

Human IgM+IgD+ B cells, the major B cell subset in the peripheral blood, express V kappa genes with no or little somatic mutation throughout life.

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Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, FRG.


Peripheral blood B cells of a 67-year-old person were separated into IgM+IgD+, IgM+IgD-, and IgM-IgD- subsets, and nucleotide sequences of expressed immunoglobulin light chain variable (V) regions encoded by V kappa 3 and V kappa 4 gene family members were determined from amplified cDNA. V region sequences from IgM+IgD+ cells (the major B cell population in the blood) showed no or little somatic mutation (0.3%), in contrast to V kappa sequences from IgM+IgD- and IgM-IgD- B cells (2.0% and 3.9%, respectively). This suggests that in the human like in the mouse, and independently of age, somatically mutated memory B cells accumulate in the compartment of IgM-IgD- cells, whereas the IgM+IgD+ subpopulation consists of cells whose antibody repertoire is mainly determined by V region gene rearrangements and N-region insertion, at the molecular level. The somatically mutated IgM+IgD- cells may represent early descendants of IgM+IgD+ cells recruited into the memory cell compartment.

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