Impaired B-1 and B-2 B cell development and atypical splenic B cell structures in IL-7 receptor-deficient mice

Eur J Immunol. 2004 Dec;34(12):3595-603. doi: 10.1002/eji.200425217.


The cytokine IL-7 and its receptor are essential for normal B and T lymphopoiesis. We have analyzed the role of this receptor in B cell development throughout ontogeny in IL-7 receptor alpha-deficient mice. We demonstrate that the IL-7 receptor becomes progressively more important with age. B lymphopoiesis takes place, albeit at reduced levels, in fetal liver and bone marrow of young mice, but is arrested in adults. The outcome is a severe reduction, from an early age, in peripheral B cells including follicular, marginal zone and B-1 B cells as well as perturbed splenic B cell structures, which are restored after adoptive transfer of normal spleen cells. We conclude that in the absence of the IL-7 receptor, the residual B lymphopoiesis occurring early in ontogeny must be facilitated by another component, whereas the IL-7 receptor is the key factor in adults. The impairment of marginal zone and B-1 B cells in IL-7 receptor- but not IL-7-deficient mice suggests non-redundant functions for the IL-7 receptor ligands, IL-7 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / deficiency*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / physiology
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Spleen / physiology*


  • Receptors, Interleukin-7