B-1 cells: the lineage question revisited


Correspondence to:Department of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford CA 94305
e-mail: leeherz@darwin.stanford.edu


Summary: The origins and functions of B-1 cells have sparked a good deal of controversy, largely centered on whether these B cells are developmentally distinct from the principal B cell populations (B-2) found in peripheral lymphoid organs. However, the prime criteria for assigning B-1 and B-2 cells to separate developmental lineages are satisfied by studies published some time ago that 1) identify distinct sources of progenitors for B-1 and B-2 cells; 2) show that these progenitors express their inherent commitment developing under the same conditions in co-transfer recipients; and, 3) have distinctive developmental patterns revealed by analysis of cells at various stages along the B-cell development pathway. I review these developmental studies here both to clarify the issue and to set the stage for presentation of evidence from more recent studies, which further define the functional differences between B-1 and B-2 cells and reveal intriguing complexities in the selective and other mechanisms that control the VH composition of the B-1 antibody repertoire.