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Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2011 Oct;59(5):379-84. doi: 10.1007/s00005-011-0135-0. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

Transitional B cells: how well are the checkpoints for specificity understood?

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Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Blizard Institute, UK.


It is crucial for the immune system to minimise the number of circulating mature self-reactive B cells, in order to reduce the potential for the development of autoantibody-related autoimmune diseases. Studies of animal models have identified two major checkpoints that ensure that such cells do not contribute to the naïve B cell repertoire. The first is in the bone marrow as B cells develop and the second is in the spleen; B cells that are released from the bone marrow as transitional B cells go through more stringent selection in the spleen before they develop into mature naïve B cells. Transitional B cells and their maturation have mostly been studied in mice. However, recent studies characterised human transitional B cells and found considerable differences to current models. In this review, we will consider these differences alongside known differences in mouse and human splenic function and ask whether human transitional B cells might develop along a different pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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