Author(s): Illera VA, Perandones CE, Stunz LL, Mower DA Jr, Ashman RF
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Abstract Small dense splenic B lymphocytes from adult specific pathogen-free mice were shown to undergo apoptosis in vitro as indicated by internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, hypodiploid DNA content of isolated nuclei, and morphologic features by electron microscopy. Unstimulated cultures showed spontaneous apoptosis increasing gradually and monotonically from < 2 to 32\% of B cells by 16 h. The rate of accumulation of apoptotic cells was reduced by the addition of IL-4 or PMA, but not by the inactive phorbol ester, 4 alpha PDD. In contrast, inhibitors of protein kinase C (H7 and staurosporine) increased the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis to > 70\% by 12 h; HA 1004, genistein, and herbimycin A all had no effect on apoptosis. Thus, protein kinase C activity regulates apoptosis, but there is no evidence that protein kinases A and G and tyrosine kinases are involved. Cycloheximide increased apoptosis, indicating that apoptosis may be restrained in B cells by the presence of one or more labile protective proteins. The percentage of apoptotic cells measured by flow cytometry and the percentage of fragmented DNA measured by the diphenylamine method were nearly equal, regardless of the method of apoptotic regulation. Together with the absence of nuclei with flow cytometric properties intermediate between normal and apoptotic, these results suggest that in individual B cells apoptosis progresses rapidly to completion. These data suggest a fundamental change in our concept of the life-style of the "resting" B cell: instead of a dormant cell remaining unchanged until it receives activation signals, the mature spleen B cell appears programmed to die by apoptosis unless rescued by specific agents, such protein kinase C activators or IL-4.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology