Fas expression and apoptosis in human B cells

Immunol Res. 1996;15(3):246-57. doi: 10.1007/BF02918252.


Mechanisms of B cell apoptosis are critical in reducing aberrant B cell proliferations such as those that arise in autoimmune disease and in B cell malignancies. The physiologic interaction of CD4+ helper T cells and B lymphocytes has been extensively studied over the past two decades. Although CD4+ T cells are considered primarily to offer positive costimulatory signals for B cell differentiation into active immunoglobulin-secreting cells, recent studies have shown that CD4+ T cells are crucial in downregulating the humoral immune response. In the course of cognate interaction between CD40 ligand (CD40L)-bearing CD4+ T cells and CD40-expressing germinal center B cells, CD40 ligation results in augmented Fas expression at the B cell surface. Like CD40L, Fas ligand is expressed on activated CD4+ Th1 cells and when bound to Fas receptor on the B cell surface, initiates an apoptotic signal in that cell. Thus, CD4+ T cells limit the growth of autologous germinal center B cells by first inducing Fas expression and then instigating a death signal via Fas ligand. In this work, we will consider these observations about CD4+ T-cell-induced, Fas-mediated B cell death in the context of other factors that affect apoptosis in B cells, normal and malignant.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • fas Receptor / biosynthesis*


  • fas Receptor