Neonatal murine B lymphocytes respond to polysaccharide antigens in the presence of IL-1 and IL-6

Ralph L. Chelvarajan, Nikole L. Gilbert, Subbarao Bondada

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30 Scopus citations


Unlike adults, neonates are unable to respond to polysaccharide Ags, making them especially vulnerable to pathogenic encapsulated bacteria. Since the Ab response to polysaccharides in adult mice requires certain cytokines, it was hypothesized that neonatal murine B cells may be competent to respond to such Ags, but may fail to do so due to a deficiency of cytokines. Neonatal splenocyte cultures, which were otherwise unresponsive to trinitrophenyl (TNP)-Ficoll, a haptenated polysaccharide Ag, mounted an adult-like Ab response when supplemented with IL-1. However, IL-1 failed to induce such a response to TNP-Ficoll when purified B cells were used instead. Although IL- 6 alone did not induce a response in whole spleen cells or purified B cells from neonates, it synergized with IL-1 in inducing purified neonatal B cells to respond to TNP-Ficoll. The avidity of the cytokine-induced neonatal anti- TNP Abs was comparable to that of Abs made by adult splenocyte cultures. One effect of IL-1 may be at the level of clonal expansion, since it induced neonatal B cells to proliferate in response to anti-IgM, which was further enhanced by IL-6. The spontaneous secretion of IL-1 by neonatal splenocytes was below the detection limit, while adult splenocytes secreted 30.8 ± 5.2 U/ml, which is of the same order of magnitude as what was required to stimulate neonatal B cells to respond to TNP-Ficoll. Thus, the neonatal unresponsiveness to polysaccharide Ags could be due to the inability of a non-B cell population resident in the neonatal spleen to secrete sufficient quantities of IL-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3315-3324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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