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It is crucial for the immune system to minimise the number of circulating mature self-reactive B cells, in order to reduce the potential for the development of autoantibody-related autoimmune diseases. Studies of animal models have identified two major checkpoints that ensure that such cells do not contribute to the naïve B cell repertoire. The first is in the bone marrow as B cells develop and the second is in the spleen; B cells that are released from the bone marrow as transitional B cells go through more stringent selection in the spleen before they develop into mature naïve B cells. Transitional B cells and their maturation have mostly been studied in mice. However, recent studies characterised human transitional B cells and found considerable differences to current models. In this review, we will consider these differences alongside known differences in mouse and human splenic function and ask whether human transitional B cells might develop along a different pathway.


Anna Vossenkämper, Jo Spencer. Transitional B cells: how well are the checkpoints for specificity understood? Archivum immunologiae et therapiae experimentalis. 2011 Oct;59(5):379-84

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PMID: 21789626

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