The direct linkage of the B cell maturation process and infiltration of the thymus with mature B cells was studied in SJL mice. Phenotypically and functionally, B cells in the thymus of old SJL mice are mature B cells; IgM+, IgD+, Ly-1-, and evince a high proliferative response to lipopolysaccharide and a low one to dextran sulphate. Memory B cells can be found in the thymus of mice immunized with T-dependent or T-independent antigens. Chronic depletion and B cell maturation arrest induced by fractionated total lymphoid irradiation or by neonatal splenectomy eliminate B cells from the thymus and block their migration from the periphery to the thymus. When examined in adoptive transfer experiments, thymus B cells were found to possess a normal migration pattern and homing receptors; their migration pattern did not differ from that of lymph node or splenic B cells. It is evident, therefore, that the large number of normal functioning B cells in the thymus of SJL mice reflects a massive infiltration of the thymus by mature B cells from the periphery due to thymus dysfunction rather than to an abnormal in situ differentiation of intrathymic B cel1 precursors.
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|Published - 1991