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Developmental Immunology
Volume 6 (1998), Issue 3-4, Pages 273-284

Tonsil Stromal-Cell Lines Expressing FDC-Like Properties: Isolation, Characterization, and Interaction with B Lymphocytes

Lister Research Laboratories, Department of Surgery, University of Edinburgh, Royal Infirmary, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH3 9YW, UK

Received 5 August 1996; Revised 4 May 1997; Accepted 14 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.


The microenvironment of secondary lymphoid organs consists of two major populations of cells, the lymphoid cells and a population of stromal cells that contribute to both tissue architecture and function. Interactions of both populations are essential for the development and control of humoral immune responses. In this study, stromal-cell preparations were obtained by a multistage process. This involved culturing 300-400-μm slices of human tonsil for 6-8 days at 25°C, trypsin digestion of the residual explant, followed by CD45-positive-cell depletion using magnetic beads, and a final period of culture for 4 days to remove remaining nonadherent cells. Phenotypifig with a panel of monoclonal antibodies revealed that the cells express HLA-DR, CD54 (ICAM-1), CD44, but no CD45 nor a range of other markers for epithelial and endothelial cells. Immunoassays of supernatants from stromal cells revealed that IL-6 was produced constitutively, and its production was increased by treatment with TNF-α and IFN-γ. In contrast IL-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-α, and IFNγ were not produced. Functional tests showed that these cells express follicular dendritic cell-like properties. Coculturing of tonsilar B cells with stromal cells resulted in enhanced proliferation and also led to increased production of immunoglobulins and IL-6, suggesting crucial signaling between these populations.