We describe large B cells, many of which have a stellate or dendritic morphology, found in the interfollicular T-cell-rich areas of human peripheral lymphoid tissue. These B cells probably require CD40/CD40 ligand signaling for their generation and have a unique phenotype and a post-germinal center pattern of immunoglobulin gene mutation. The only comparable B cell is the "asteroid" cell of the thymic medulla. Their anatomic location and pattern of gene mutation suggest that these cells may represent the cell of origin of some human large-cell lymphomas. Studies in experimental animals should help to elucidate the role of these cells in the immune response.
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