Origin and nature of chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells

Nicholas Chiorazzi, Manlio Ferrarini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the past, B cells were considered a homogeneous population that gave rise to Ig-secreting cells and memory B cells, following specific antigenic stimulation. In recent years, this view has changed, and B cells are now documented as composed of different subpopulations, each with special functions (Fig. 1). These concepts emerged from observations in both humans and experimental animals suggesting that the B cell-rich zone of peripheral lymphoid tissues segregates into functionally unique areas. For example, B-cell proliferation and selection occur in germinal centers (GCs) of lymphoid follicles during an antigenic response, promoting the specific expansion of the cells equipped with B-cell antigen receptors (BCRs) of the highest affinity for the stimulating antigen. In the mantle of lymphoid follicles, there is an accumulation of “virgin” (foreign antigen inexperienced) cells that may be recruited into GCs by antigen stimulation. In contrast, B cells localized in the splenic marginal zone (MZ) can respond in a T cell-independent fashion by producing IgM antibodies against polysaccharide antigens of encapsulated bacteria. B cells with similar features are detected in subepithelial areas of tonsils, subcapsular areas of lymph nodes, and dome regions of Peyer’s patches. Cells of lymphoid follicles and those of the MZ have dissimilar phenotypic and trafficking features, mature by distinct pathways, and respond differently to cytokines and chemokines. This further highlights the diversity of B-cell subsets.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781420068962
ISBN (Print)1420068954, 9781420068955
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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