The role of IL-7 in the stromal cell-dependent B cell development was investigated using two stromal cell clones, ST2 and PA6; the former supports B lymphopoiesis while the latter can not. We demonstrate here that: (a) the ability of the stromal cell clone to produce IL-7 correlates well with the stromal cell activity to support B lymphopoiesis; (b) IL-7 production by ST2 is inducible rather than constitutive; (c) the IL-7-dependent B cell itself is a potent inducer of IL-7 production by ST2; (d) addition of rIL-7 to the PA6 layer renders this in vitro environment B lymphopoietic; and (e) the differentiation from early B progenitor to pre-B cell requires both IL-7 and other stromal cell molecule(s) yet to be identified.

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