Human immunology

Membrane depolarization of human B cells follows stimulation by either anti-mu or B-cell growth factor, but only anti-mu causes cell volume changes.

PMID 3131276


Human peripheral blood B cells were separated from monocytes and T cells, depleted of null cells by an anti-Leu 9 rosetting technique, and fractionated on discontinuous Percoll gradients to yield a highly purified, small, dense B-cell population. These cells responded to F(ab')2 goat anti-mu at 10 and 100 micrograms/ml with membrane depolarization (measured by immunofluorescence with 3,3'-dipentyloxacarbocyanine dye) at 1 h, cell volume enlargement by 48 h, and modest thymidine incorporation by 72 h. They also responded to the 12-kd human B-cell growth factor of Maizel with membrane depolarization, but not with cell volume increase. F(ab')2 anti-mu and B-cell growth factor together induced greater depolarization than was seen with either alone, but there was no synergy. The cell volume increase seen with F(ab')2 anti-mu was not increased by B-cell growth factor. Comparison of data analysis methods showed that mean fluorescence intensity most readily detected significant depolarization. We conclude that in human B cells: (1) depolarization may be a "general response" to a variety of membrane stimuli, because F(ab')2 anti-mu and B-cell growth factor acting through different receptors both induce it, and (2) depolarization does not inevitably lead to cell volume increase.