Peripheral deletion of self-reactive B cells

Nature. 1991 Nov 28;354(6351):308-11. doi: 10.1038/354308a0.


B LYMPHOCYTES are key participants in the immune response because of their specificity, their ability to take up and present antigens to T cells, and their capacity to differentiate into antibody-secreting cells. To limit reactivity to self antigens, autospecific B cells can be functionally inactivated or deleted. Developing B cells that react with membrane antigens expressed in the bone marrow are deleted from the peripheral lymphocyte pool. It is important to ascertain the fate of B cells that recognize membrane autoantigens expressed exclusively on peripheral tissues because B cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs are phenotypically and functionally distinct from bone-marrow B cells. Here we show that in immunoglobulin-transgenic mice, B cells specific for major histocompatibility complex class I antigen can be deleted if they encounter membrane-bound antigen at a post-bone-marrow stage of development. This deletion may be necessary to prevent organ-specific autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoantibodies*
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Cell Death
  • Clone Cells
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • H-2 Antigens / immunology*
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes / analysis
  • Liver / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Spleen / cytology


  • Autoantibodies
  • H-2 Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin Idiotypes
  • RNA, Messenger