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Yamano, Tomoyoshi; Steinert, Madlen and Klein, Ludger (2015): Thymic B cells and central T cell tolerance. In: Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 6, UNSP 376 [PDF, 161kB]


Central T cell tolerance is believed to be mainly induced by thymic dendritic cells and medullary thymic epithelial cells. The thymus also harbors substantial numbers of B cells. These may arise though intrathymic B lymphopoiesis or immigration from the bloodstream. Importantly, and in contrast to resting "mainstream" B cells in the periphery, thymic B cells display elevated levels of MHC class II and constitutively express CD80. Arguably, their most unexpected feature is the expression of autoimmune regulator. These unique features of thymic B cells result from a licensing process that involves cross-talk with CD4 single-positive T cells and CD40 signaling. Together, these recent findings suggest that B cells play a more prominent role as thymic APCs than previously appreciated.

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