Partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy preserves immunoglobulin M memory B cells in mice

J Pediatr Surg. 2011 Sep;46(9):1706-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.04.020.


Purpose: The mechanism by which partial splenectomy preserves splenic immune function is unknown. Immunoglobulin (Ig) M memory B cells are critical for the immune response against encapsulated bacteria and are reduced in asplenic patients, although it is unknown whether partial splenectomy can preserve memory B cells. We hypothesized that IgM memory B cells (murine B-1a cells) would be preserved after partial splenectomy but not after total splenectomy in mice.

Methods: We performed total splenectomy (n = 17), partial splenectomy (n = 10), or sham laparotomy (n = 16) on C57BL/6J mice. Mice were killed on postoperative day 10 or 30, and peritoneal washings were analyzed by multiparameter flow cytometry for expression of murine B-1a cells (IgM(pos)IgD(dull)CD5(pos)B220(dull)).

Results: We found that B-1a cells were significantly reduced after both total and partial splenectomies compared with sham laparotomy in the early postoperative period, although normal levels of B-1a cells returned by postoperative day 30 in mice undergoing partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy.

Conclusion: Partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy preserves the B-1a B-cell population in mice within 30 days after surgery. Maintenance of these critical B cells may contribute to the preservation of a splenic-dependent immune response after partial splenectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin M*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Splenectomy / methods*


  • Immunoglobulin M