Development of a bone marrow culture for maintenance and growth of normal human B cell precursors

M. L. Wolf, J. A. Buckley, A. Goldfarb, C. L. Law, Tucker W LeBien

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63 Scopus citations


The absence of long term bone marrow cultures for studying the growth and differentiation of human B cell precursors (BCP) has placed restrictions on the ability to analyze the early stages of human B cell ontogeny. We now describe a bone marrow-derived adherent cell microenvironment that maintains human BCP for several weeks in vitro. The adherent cells are maintained in a serum-free tissue culture medium, and consist of a predominant population of CD10+ fibroblast-like cells and a minor population of CD10+/nonspecific esterase+ macrophages. Adherent cell cultures seeded with fresh or cryopreserved fetal bone marrow, or purified CD10+/surface IgM- cells, provide a supportive microenvironment for lymphoid cells with a predominant phenotype of CD10+/CD19+/HLA-DR+/surface IgM-. Supplementation of the adherent cell cultures with human IL-7 induces active growth of BCP during the first 14 to 21 days of culture. However, the expansion of these cells does not continue past 21 days, and the cultures undergo a steady decline in BCP. Analysis of adherent cell conditioned medium revealed the presence of an unidentified soluble factor (or factors) that acts in concert with IL-7 to promote the growth of CD10+/surface IgM- cells. This culture system will be useful in elucidating the patterns of gene expression and growth factor requirements that characterize normal human B cell ontogeny, and perturbations of normal B cell ontogeny that lead to immunodeficiency and leukemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3324-3330
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1991

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