Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 114–120 | Cite as

Membrane IgD-positive B cells of “low-IgD serum phenotype” individuals fail to secrete IgD and fail to shift to preferential lambda light-chain expressionin vitro

  • Stephen D. Litwin
  • Bradley D. Zehr
Original Articles


IgD production by short-term human peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBM) cultures was studied to establish thein vitro correlates of low serum IgD expression. Cells of persons with <3 µg/ml IgD in the serum, referred to as the low-serum IgD phenotype (LISP), were analyzed. Advantage was taken of recently developed data on spontaneous IgD biosynthesis by human B cells and the observation that lambda light chains are preferentially expressed by IgD-secreting cellsin vitro. Initial analysis of an IgD serum distribution showed that all LISP sera contained low but detectable amounts of IgD, with a mean value of 0.85 µg/ml; this figure was 30- to 35-fold lower than the mean of the majority of the population. LISP PBM contained normal numbers of IgD-positive B cells which displayed a normal intensity of IgD per cell using comparative analysis of mean channel fluorescence by cell flow cytometry. Several lines of evidence suggested that IgD-secreting cells could not be generated from LISP lymphocytesin vitro. Namely, it was found that (1) no IgD immunoglobulin-containing cells were found among PBM of LISP persons; (2) cell lysates enriched for the intracellular fraction by Triton X-114 phase separation showed low IgD in LISP cells despite “normal” amounts of IgD in membrane-enriched fraction preparations; (3) there was no spontaneous IgD secretion by any LISP PBM cultures; and (4) neither LISP sera nor cellular IgD preparations showed IgD lambda/kappa ratios >1.0, indicative of the absence of the preferential lambda light-chain expression associated with secretion of IgD. It was concluded that LISP IgD-positive B cells lacked both active secretion of IgD and the preferential delta heavy-lambda light-chain expression associated with secreted IgD. The issue of whether the underlying immunophysiologic “defect” was best characterized as an immune deficiency or a genetic variation is discussed.

Key words

IgD delta heavy chain immune deficiency Ig allelic variations human lambda light chains 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen D. Litwin
    • 1
  • Bradley D. Zehr
    • 1
  1. 1.Guthrie Research Institute of the Guthrie Foundation for Medical ResearchSayre

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