Splenectomy increases the number of B cells in the blood of humans and animals. It is unknown whether this is due to changes in migration, proliferation, or both. The numbers of naïve (IgD+IgM+), memory (IgD-IgMhigh), newly formed (IgMhighCD90high), early recirculating follicular (IgMlowCD90high), recirculating follicular (IgMlowCD90-), and marginal zone (IgMhighCD90-) phenotype B cells were determined in control and splenectomized rats by flow cytometry. All subsets increased significantly in the blood after splenectomy. Because surface molecules are involved in the regulation of migration and proliferation, their expression (lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 [LFA-1], intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), L-selectin, α4-integrins, CD44, major histocompatability complex class II, interleukin 2 receptor-α chain) was determined on B- and T-cell subsets of both groups. B cells, but not T cells, showed a significantly reduced LFA-1 and ICAM-1 expression in blood and lymph nodes, whereas the expression of the other surface molecules analyzed remained unchanged. The down-regulation of these molecules did not influence the adherence of B cells to high endothelial venules in vitro. In vivo, however, ICAM-1low-expressing B cells migrated significantly faster through lymph nodes (ICAM-1low 41 ± 5 hours versus ICAM-1high 58 ± 3 hours), whereas proliferation of B cells in bone marrow, lymph node, and blood remained unchanged. Thus, the presence of one organ is necessary for appropriate expression of LFA-1 and ICAM-1 on B cells in other, distant organs. The more rapid transit of ICAM-1low B cells through lymph nodes may be responsible for the increased B-cell number in the blood after splenectomy.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)