Lymphocyte Development

The principal events during the maturation of B lymphocytes are the rearrangement and expression of Ig genes in a precise order, selection and proliferation of developing

B cells at the pre-antigen receptor checkpoint, and selection of the mature B cell repertoire. Before birth, B lymphocytes develop from committed precursors in the fetal liver, and after birth, B cells are generated in the bone marrow. The majority of B lymphocytes arise from adult bone marrow progenitors that are initially Ig negative, develop into immature B cells that express membrane-bound IgM molecules, and then leave the bone marrow to mature further primarily in the spleen. In the spleen, cells that develop into follicular B cells express IgM and IgD on the cell surface and acquire the ability to recirculate and populate all peripheral lymphoid organs. These follicular B cells home to lymphoid follicles and are able to recognize foreign antigens and to respond to them. The development of a mature B cell from a lymphoid progenitor is estimated to take 2 to 3 days in humans.

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