The generation of thymus-independent germinal centers depends on CD40 but not on CD154, the T cell-derived CD40-ligand.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • D Gray
  • MH Kosco-Vilbois
  • Chandrabal Raykundalia
  • M Botto

Colleges, School and Institutes


In this report, we show that the formation of germinal center (GC)-like structures to thymus-independent type 2 antigens in mice depends on intact signals through CD40, but does not depend on T cell-derived CD40-ligand (CD154). In addition, we show that follicular dendritic cells (FDC) are also critical to thymus-independent GC formation, as their depletion by blockade of lymphotoxin-beta receptor signals abrogated GC development unless the responding B cells bound antigen with high affinity. Further evidence that immune complexes drove this CD40-dependent B cell proliferation was provided by the observation that an antibody that detects immune complexes containing complement component 4 on FDC also inhibited thymus-independent GC formation when injected in vivo at the time of immunization. Finally, we show that thymus-independent B cell proliferation was associated with class switching to IgG3, as IgG3(+) antigen-specific switched B cells could be visualized directly in GC, suggesting that immune complexes can provide the signals for class switching within GC in the absence of CD154.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1665-73
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • follicular dendritic cells, CD40, germinal center, thymus-independent, immunoglobulin class switching