Aged mice exhibit distinct B cell precursor phenotypes differing in activation, proliferation and apoptosis

Elaine Van Der Put, Erin M. Sherwood, Bonnie B. Blomberg, Richard L. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Senescence in murine models is associated with a reduction, albeit heterogeneous, in bone marrow pre-B cells. We have categorized aged BALB/c mice into two phenotypes based on their patterns of pre-B/pro-B cell loss. Each phenotype is characterized by distinct responses to the growth cytokine IL-7 and capacity for survival in vitro. A 'moderate' loss of late-stage pre-B cells (25-80%) coincided with decline in proliferation to rmIL-7. This was also associated with a decrease in the frequency of pro-B cells which increased phosphotyrosine content upon IL-7 stimulation, an indicator of early activation events. A 'severe' loss of pre-B cells (>80%) resulted in a reduced pro-B cell pool which retained normal activation and proliferative responses to IL-7. B cell precursors from aged mice with severe alterations in B lymphopoiesis displayed increased susceptibility to apoptosis in comparison to both aged mice with moderate B cell precursor loss and young mice. Conceivably, during senescence, aged mice may initially accumulate B cell precursors which are poorly responsive to IL-7. Progressively, these refractory B cell precursors may be eliminated via apoptosis; however, the remaining limited pool of B cell precursors retains the capacity to respond to IL-7 stimulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1147
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Apoptosis
  • IL-7
  • Pre-B cells
  • Pro-B cells
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Medicine(all)


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