The present study was undertaken to determine whether mouse follicular dendritic cells (FDC) bear Fc epsilon RII (CD23) and whether IgE-immune complexes are retained by FDC. Mouse Fc epsilon RII was localized by both L and electron microscopy using the mAb B3B4. In lymph nodes of normal mice, Fc epsilon RII was low but detectable on FDC. By 14 days after Nippostrongylus brasiliensis infection, the level of Fc epsilon RII increased on B lymphocytes located in the cortex of draining mesenteric lymph nodes. However, the Fc epsilon RII level on FDC remained low. Although numerous IgE-producing plasma cells were seen at day 14, very little IgE was associated with FDC. By 26 days after infection, Fc epsilon RII was observed on FDC in increased levels and IgE binding was clearly associated with FDC. Unexpectedly, FDC of control mice immunized with albumin in CFA to elicit an IgG response showed intense labeling for Fc epsilon RII. In contrast, the B cells exhibited very little Fc epsilon RII. IgE immune complexes were observed in association with FDC in the CFA-immunized mice. When mice were given a hapten-specific monoclonal of the IgE isotype, hapten carrier complexes were trapped and retained on Fc epsilon RII-bearing FDC. In conclusion, FDC were clearly one of the major murine cell types bearing Fc epsilon RII. IgE immune complexes were found in association with FDC and Fc epsilon RII appeared to play a major role in trapping and retaining IgE immune complexes. FDC Fc epsilon RII was subject to regulatory control, but the Fc epsilon RII level on FDC was regulated very differently from the Fc epsilon RII level on B cells.

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