A role for immunoglobulin D: Interference with tolerance induction

R. Carsetti, G. Kohler, M. C. Lamers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have studied the induction and maintenance of tolerance in the B lymphocyte compartment. Neonatal and adult transgenic mice which expressed either surface IgM (sIgM) or sIgM and sIgD anti-2,4,6-trinitrophenyl (TNP) were treated with soluble mono- and multivalent forms of TNP-modified carriers. We compared the B cell compartment of mice treated with antigen and of littermates injected with phosphate-buffered saline. Antigen-mediated cross-linking of membrane-bound IgM (sIgM) caused deletion of B cells both in neonatal and adult mice with μ and κ transgenes. Deletion was the result of apoptosis. In mice that carried an additional δ transgene sIgD interfered with tolerance induction. The stage in which the cells were sensitive to deletion was characterized as a transitional stage between immature (sIgM(dull), heat-stable antigen(bright), B220(dull), sIgD-) and more mature (IgM(bright), heat-stable antigen(dull), B22O(bright), sIgD-) B cells. Surviving cells were functional as measured by receptor-mediated changes in the intracellular free Ca2+ concentration. We propose that when the immature B cells have reached the final stages of maturation IgM always transmits negative signals in the absence of T cell help. When B cells need to be screened against self reactivity IgM is the only antigen receptor expressed. The presence of sIgD protects resting B cells from deletion and allows them to initiate an effective immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • B cell development
  • IgD
  • IgM
  • Tolerance
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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