The role of TGF-beta in growth, differentiation, and maturation of B lymphocytes

Microbes Infect. 1999 Dec;1(15):1297-304. doi: 10.1016/s1286-4579(99)00254-3.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) affects B cells at all stages in development. It appears to be involved in lymphopoiesis and is required for the development of plasma cells secreting all secondary isotypes. Its ability to inhibit proliferation and stimulate apoptosis suggest that it may be involved both in germinal center development and regulation of B-cell proliferation at sites of high antigen load such as the gastrointestinal tract. Although TGF-beta appears to be required for the generation of B cells secreting secondary isotypes, it inhibits secretion of IgM and IgA from cells expressing those isotypes. In this regard, TGF-beta may alter the level of RNA processing factors either directly or indirectly by inhibiting progression through the cell cycle. One of the best characterized effects of TGF-beta is its ability to stimulate isotype switching to IgA in both mouse and man. There is some controversy concerning its mechanism of action in this process, but its critical role is without question. The controversy may stem in part from an inability to separate the effects of endogenous and exogenous TGF-beta in the multiple models of isotype switching. The influence of endogenous TGF-beta is perhaps best exemplified by analysis of production of the different classes of IgG in mouse strains producing different levels of TGF-beta.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta