This study was designed to investigate whether follicular dendritic cells (FDC) can activate B cells to a state in which they can function as effective antigen-presenting cells (APC). High buoyant density (i.e., resting) B cells specific for 2,4-dinitro-fluorobenzene (DNP) were incubated with DNP-ovalbumin (OVA) bearing FDC, after which their capacity to process and present to an OVA-specific T cell clone was assessed. The efficacies of alternative sources of antigen and activation signals in the induction of B cell APC function were compared with those provided by FDC. Only FDC and Sepharose beads coated with anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)kappa monoclonal antibody provided the necessary stimulus. FDC carrying inappropriate antigens also induced B cell APC function in the presence of exogenous DNP-OVA. However, in circumstances where soluble DNP-OVA was limiting, FDC bearing complexes containing DNP, which could crosslink B cell Ig receptors, induced the most potent APC function. Analysis by flow cytometry revealed that within 24 h of coculture with FDC, a significant percentage of B cells increased in size and expressed higher levels of major histocompatibility complex class II. By 48 h, an upregulation of the costimulatory molecule, B7/BB1, occurred, but only when exposed to the FDC bearing DNP. Taken together, the results demonstrate that FDC have the capacity to activate resting B cells to a state in which they can function as APC for T cells. The stimuli that FDC provide may include: (a) an antigen-dependent signal that influences the upregulation of B7/BB1; and (b) possibly a signal independent of crosslinking mIg that results in Ig internalization. The relevance of these findings to the formation of germinal centers and maintenance of the humoral response is discussed.
Follicular dendritic cells help resting B cells to become effective antigen-presenting cells: induction of B7/BB1 and upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class II molecules.
M H Kosco-Vilbois, D Gray, D Scheidegger, M Julius; Follicular dendritic cells help resting B cells to become effective antigen-presenting cells: induction of B7/BB1 and upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class II molecules.. J Exp Med 1 December 1993; 178 (6): 2055–2066. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.178.6.2055
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