T helper cell-dependent B cell activation

FASEB J. 1991 Oct;5(13):2770-6. doi: 10.1096/fasebj.5.13.1833257.


Small, resting B lymphocytes are driven into the cell cycle as a consequence of receiving multiple signals from elements found within their local environment. The first of these signals results from the binding of specific antigen to membrane immunoglobulin (mIg) receptors on the B cells. Pursuant to antigen binding, signals are transduced and the B cell commences to endocytose and degrade the antigen. Fragments of the antigen are expressed on the B cell surface in noncovalent association with class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. The antigen-class II MHC complex serves as a recognition complex for CD4+ helper T cells (Th). As a consequence of recognition, Th form stable physical conjugates with the B cells. Over an extended period of time the Th and B cells bilaterally signal one another. This interchange of signals results in the growth and differentiation of both cells. This review will discuss the sequence of events that culminate in the growth and differentiation of B lymphocytes to antibody-producing cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Lymphocyte Cooperation*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*