Peanut Agglutinin (PNA) Binding as a Marker for Immature Human B Lymphocytes. Is Bone Marrow not the Complete Bursa-Equivalent?

  • Ton Logtenberg
  • Gijsbert C. de Gast
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 149)


To investigate the nature of peanut agglutinin (PNA) binding cells in various human lymphoid tissues a double marker assay was performed using fluorescent PNA and rosetting with anti-μ or anti-δ coated ox red blood cells for detection of B cells or rosetting with sheep red blood cells for detection of T cells.

In human bone marrow 60.5 ± 8.6% of the surface µve (sµ+ve) B cells did bind PNA whereas only a small minority of the surface δ+ve (δ+ve) B cells (5.0 ± 4.2%) and none of the T cells were PNA+ve. In peripheral blood most of the PNA+ve cells appeared to be monocytes. Only a small proportion of the su+ve B cells (9.7 ± 2.7%) and none of the sδ+ve B cells or T cells did bind PNA. Contrarily in tonsils a relatively high proportion of sµ+ve B cells (33.2%) of sδ+ve B cells (26.3%) and of T cells (17.2%) were PNA+ve.

These results indicate that PNA binding is also a marker for immature B cells. Moreover in human bone marrow at least two populations of B cells may be distinguished, an immature population of sµ+ve, sδ-ve, PNA+ve B cells and a mature populations of sµ+ve, sδ+ve, PNA-ve B cells, the latter probably representing recirculating B cells. We hypothesize that the first population comprises immature B cells, that leave the bone marrow in an early stage and complete the maturation to immunocompetent B cells in peripheral lymphoid organs like tonsils.


Bone Marrow Germinal Center Human Bone Marrow Immature Population Peanut Agglutinin 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ton Logtenberg
    • 1
  • Gijsbert C. de Gast
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Immuno-haematologyUniversity HospitalUtrechtThe Netherlands

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