We have studied potential regulatory interactions between mature B lymphocyte populations by analysis of C.B-17 severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice reconstituted simultaneously with immunoglobulin allotype-congenic mixtures of spleen (SP) and peritoneal cavity (PerC) B cells. We have previously shown that the independent transfer of B cells from these sources leads to the long-term survival of donor B cells and reconstitution of immunoglobulin levels in SCID mice (Riggs, J.E., D.L. Robertson, R.S. Stowers, and D.E. Mosier, manuscript submitted for publication). SP and PerC B cells differ in numerous respects, with the PerC having higher proportions of large, activated B cells that express the IgM greater than IgD phenotype and greater numbers of CD5 B cells. The injection of equal numbers of B cells from SP and PerC into SCID recipients (e.g., BALB/c SP + C.B-17 Per C----SCID) has led to the following observations: (a) serum IgM allotypes in B cell chimeras revealed strict dominance by the allotype contributed by the PerC B cells; (b) this dominance was not due to regulatory T cells; (c) B cells of the unexpressed (i.e., SP) allotype were present in the chimera in the spleen but not the peritoneal cavity; and (d) immunization with TI and TD antigens failed to elicit the SP IgM allotype, whereas secondary TD antigen immunization elicited low levels of the SP IgG2a allotype. Additional experiments demonstrated concurrent expression of IgM allotypes derived from both SP and PerC B cells in recipients that: (a) received a 10-fold excess of SP B cells; (b) received SP B cells before PerC B cell transfer; or (c) received SP B cells intravenously and PerC B cells intraperitoneally. We conclude that the establishment of IgM synthesis by PerC B cells leads to a feedback inhibition of subsequent IgM synthesis by SP B cells, and that the frequency of B cells that can lead to this effect is substantially higher in peritoneal cavity than in spleen. These data provide further confirmation of regulatory interactions between B cells in the absence of T lymphocytes, but confound the interpretation of experiments supporting the existence of a separate CD5+ B cell lineage.

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