RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Toward a role of dendritic cells in the germinal center reaction: triggering of B cell proliferation and isotype switching.

Journal of Immunology 1999 March 16
We have reported previously that in vitro generated dendritic cells (DC) can directly regulate B cell responses. Recently, germinal center DC (GCDC) were identified within B cell follicles. Due to their particular localization, we have tested in the present study whether GCDC could contribute to key events characteristic of the GC reaction. Our present results demonstrate that 1) ex vivo GCDC induce a dramatic GC B cell expansion upon CD40 and IL-2 activation and drive plasma cell differentiation, 2) this property is shared by GCDC and blood DC, but not by Langerhans cells, 3) IL-12 production by GCDC is critical in GC B cell expansion and differentiation, and 4) importantly, GCDC also induce IL-10-independent isotype switching toward IgG1. These observations support the novel concept that GCDC directly contribute to the germinal center reaction.

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