Thymic stromal-derived lymphopoietin distinguishes fetal from adult B cell development

Nat Immunol. 2003 Aug;4(8):773-9. doi: 10.1038/ni956. Epub 2003 Jul 20.


Deletions of interleukin 7 (IL-7) or its receptor components permit fetal but not adult B cell development in mice. Mice deficient in IL-7 receptor alpha (IL-7R alpha) had 1% the number of B cells of controls and 10% that of mice deficient in the common gamma chain. As IL-7R alpha is also a receptor for thymic stromal-derived lymphopoietin (TSLP), we assayed the ability of TSLP to support proliferation of fetal or adult precursor B cells. Only fetal-derived pro-B cells were able to respond to TSLP, although pre-B cells from both origins were TSLP-responsive. Fetal but not adult precursors generated a measurable B cell compartment in the absence of IL-7. The residual B cells found in IL-7R alpha-deficient mice required fetal liver kinase 2 (Flk-2) for their development. Thus, IL-7R alpha- and Flk-2-mediated signals account for the generation of almost all mouse B lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism*


  • Cst3 protein, mouse
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-7
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • thymic stromal lymphopoietin