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Developmental Immunology
Volume 3 (1993), Issue 3, Pages 181-195

A Selective Culture System for Generating Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase-Positive Lymphoid Cells In Vitro. V. Detection of Stage-Specific Pro-B-Cell Stimulating Activity in Medium Conditioned by Mouse Bone Marrow Stromal Cells

Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA

Received 29 January 1993; Accepted 12 May 1993

Copyright © 1993 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The selective in vitro generation of rat, mouse, and human terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-positive (TdT+ lymphoid cells in our long-term xenogeneic bone marrow (BM) culture system is characterized by physical interaction between the developing lymphocytes and mouse BM-adherent stromal cells and macrophages. In the present study, experiments in which micropor)us membrane culture inserts were inoculated with rat BM cells demonstrated that although the generation of primitive B-lineage lymphoid cells requires the presence of a mouse BM feeder layer, cognitive recognition events are not necessary. Similarly, cell-free (and serum-free) medium conditioned with mouse BM (but not thymus or spleen) adherent cells and stromal-cell lines therefrom supported the proliferation of early rat lymphoid cells in a dose-dependent manner. Double immunofluorescence for incorporated bromo-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and early B-lineage markers of rat BM lymphoid cells maintained in culture inserts or conditioned medium (CM), and studies of their in vitro and in vivo developmental potentials, indicated that the lymphoproliferative response resulted from the selective stimulation of lymphoid stem and/or progenitor cells. The most primitive of these target cells had a HIS24+ HIS50- TdT-- sIg-, pre-pro-B-cell phenotype. Whereas this subset normally constitutes less than 2% of B-lineage BM cells in vivo, it comprises more than 25% of total lymphoid cells in vitro. In addition, the number of TdT+ cells, predominantly of the early pro-B-cell phenotype (HIS24+ HIS50- TdT-- sIg-), was increased approximately tenfold above input levels. Based on these and previous findings, a schematic model is proposed for the developmental pathway of early B-lineage cells in rat BM from the level of the committed (possibly common) lymphoid stem cell to that of the pre-B-cell.