Send to

Choose Destination
J Immunol. 2002 May 15;168(10):5014-23.

Aging-dependent exclusion of antigen-inexperienced cells from the peripheral B cell repertoire.

Author information

Integrated Department of Immunology, University of Colorado Health Science Center and National Jewish Medical and Research Center, 1400 Jackson Street, RM K1004, Denver, CO 80206.


Aging is accompanied by greatly reduced B cell production in the bone marrow, yet peripheral B cell numbers do not decline. We hypothesize that this may reflect filling of the peripheral pool with B cells that are long-lived as a consequence of specificity for, and chronic stimulation by, environmental Ags. To begin to explore this possibility, we analyzed the effects of aging on B cell population dynamics in the anti-H2(k/b) 3-83 mu-delta Ig-transgenic mouse. We predicted that, because they presumably do not bind environmental Ags, B cells bearing the transgenic receptor may be lost in aged animals. As seen in nontransgenic animals, total splenic B cell numbers remained constant with age in the Ig-transgenic animals despite reduced B cell production. Importantly, although the few newly produced B cells in the bone marrow of aged mice are 3-83 positive, the peripheral compartment of these mice is dominated by B cells that express endogenous Ig genes rather than the transgenes. This population includes large numbers of marginal zone-like and CD21(low/-)CD23(low/-)IgM(low) B cells, as well as elevated numbers of CD5+ B cells. Many of these cells express only non-B220 CD45 isoforms, suggesting that they may be memory cells. A significant proportion of aged transgenic animals produce autoantibodies that are reactive with ssDNA, dsDNA, or histones. Results support the hypothesis that, in the face of severely reduced production with age, B cells are selected based on reactivity to environmental Ags, accumulate, and display activated phenotypes. Cells bearing 3-83-transgenic receptors are excluded from this population due to their specificity. Beyond their importance in aging, these findings define a novel form of receptor revision in which B cells are selected rather than deleted based on Ag reactivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for University of Colorado, Strauss Health Sciences Library
Loading ...
Support Center