Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) and IL-7 are cytokines that signal via the IL-7 receptor alpha (IL-7Rα) to exert both overlapping and unique functions during early stages of mouse B-cell development. In human B lymphopoiesis, the requirement for IL-7Rα signaling is controversial and the roles of IL-7 and TSLP are less clear. Here, we evaluated human B-cell production using novel in vitro and xenograft models of human B-cell development that provide selective IL-7 and human TSLP (hTSLP) stimulation. We show that in vitro human B-cell production is almost completely blocked in the absence of IL-7Rα stimulation, and that either TSLP or IL-7 can provide a signal critical for the production and proliferation of human CD19+ PAX5+ pro-B cells. Analysis of primary human bone marrow stromal cells shows that they express both IL-7 and TSLP, providing an in vivo source of these cytokines. We further show that the in vivo production of human pro-B cells under the influence of mouse IL-7 in a xenograft scenario is reduced by anti-IL-7 neutralizing antibodies, and that this loss can be restored by hTSLP at physiological levels. These data establish the importance of IL-7Rα mediated signals for normal human B-cell production.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy