Slow recovery of follicular B cells and marginal zone B cells after chemotherapy: implications for humoral immunity

A Zandvoort, ME Lodewijk, PA Klok, PM Dammers, FGM Kroese, W Timens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Although most chemotherapeutic agents are known to cause primarily reduction or suppression of immune responses, surprisingly little is known about the influence of cytostatic agents on lymphoid tissue compartments such as the splenic marginal zone. The marginal zone plays an important role in the defence against encapsulated bacteria, which are potential candidates for postchemotherapeutic infections. We studied the effect of three different cytostatic agents (cisplatin, methotrexate, and cyclophosphamide) on B cell subpopulations in a rat model. Rats received a single dose of a single cytostatic agent and were sacrificed at different time points after treatment. Bone marrow, blood, mesenteric lymph nodes and spleens were analysed by flow-cytometry and immunohistochemistry. All three cytostatic agents showed severe bone marrow depression. CP and MTX showed only mild reduction of cell populations in the spleen. CyPh showed a severe reduction of recirculating follicular B (RF-B) cells and marginal zone B (MZ-B) cells. At day 24 most populations were already recovered, but RF-B cells and MZ-B cells were still reduced. The reduction of the marginal zone and late recovery may imply that, beside the overall increased infection risk due to neutropenia, patients treated with chemotherapy are at risk for developing infections from encapsulated bacteria for a considerable period of time after treatment, extending beyond the period of bone marrow depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May-2001


  • B cells
  • marginal zone
  • rat
  • TI-2 antigens
  • spleen
  • RAT

Cite this