Indexed on: 26 Nov '97Published on: 26 Nov '97Published in: The Journal of Pathology
Fas ligand (FasL), a cell surface molecule belonging to the tumour necrosis family, induces apoptosis through its receptor, Fas antigen (Fas). Germinal centre B cells strongly express Fas, but the role of the Fas-FasL system in B-cell selection in the germinal centre remains unclear. In the present study, FasL mRNA in the tonsils was examined by RNA in situ hybridization. FasL mRNA was detected in the lymphocytes of both germinal centres and interfollicular areas, but much more intensively in the former. The distribution of cells strongly expressing FasL mRNA in the germinal centres was quite similar to that of CD45RO-positive T cells. Immunohistochemically, however, most of the germinal centre cells were positive for FasL. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that FasL-positive cells of the tonsils included not only CD3-positive/CD45RO-positive T cells, but also CD19-positive B cells. This finding therefore suggests either that germinal centre B cells can produce FasL, although the level of mRNA was equivocal, or that the soluble form of FasL may be released from FasL-positive T cells in the germinal centres and then bind to Fas-positive germinal centre B cells. Thus, the Fas-FasL system may participate in the positive selection of B cells.