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Developmental Immunology
Volume 6, Issue 3-4, Pages 261-271

Studies on the Induction of Antigen-Specific Antibody in Anti-CD40 Cultured Human B Lymphocytes

Department of Clinical Immunology, University Hospital, Groningen 9713 EZ, The Netherlands

Received 16 August 1996; Revised 2 May 1997; Accepted 12 August 1997

Copyright © 1998 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.


Costimulatory signals provided by T cells are required for B cells to produce specific antibody to T-dependent antigen. We have investigated the suitability of using the CD40 culture system for the proliferation and differentiation of Ag-specific human B cells using cytomegalovirus (CMV) or tetanus toxoid (TT) as antigen. We modified the CD40 culture system (CD32- transfected L cells, anti-CD40, and IL-4) by applying a sequential cytokine stimulation and compared total B-cell cultures with antigen-specific B cells preselected by panning. The detection of specific antibody became possible when antigen-selected B cells were cultured for 7 days in the CD40 system to induce clonal expansion, followed by the addition of IL-2 and IL10 for an additional 7 days to induce plasma-cell differentiation. We conclude that our intial inability to detect specific antibody in the CD40 system is due to overgrowth of nonspecific B cell clones and that selection of antigen-specific B cells by panning overcomes this problem. Induction of antigen-specific antibody production was found to be optimal when the initial contact with antigen during panning was limited to between 1 to 24 hours.