Partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy preserves immunoglobulin M memory B cells in mice.



The mechanism by which partial splenectomy preserves splenic immune function is unknown. Immunoglobulin (Ig) M memory B cells are critical for the immune response against encapsulated bacteria and are reduced in asplenic patients, although it is unknown whether partial splenectomy can preserve memory B cells. We hypothesized that IgM memory B cells (murine B-1a cells) would be preserved after partial splenectomy but not after total splenectomy in mice.


We performed total splenectomy (n = 17), partial splenectomy (n = 10), or sham laparotomy (n = 16) on C57BL/6J mice. Mice were killed on postoperative day 10 or 30, and peritoneal washings were analyzed by multiparameter flow cytometry for expression of murine B-1a cells (IgM(pos)IgD(dull)CD5(pos)B220(dull)).


We found that B-1a cells were significantly reduced after both total and partial splenectomies compared with sham laparotomy in the early postoperative period, although normal levels of B-1a cells returned by postoperative day 30 in mice undergoing partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy.


Partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy preserves the B-1a B-cell population in mice within 30 days after surgery. Maintenance of these critical B cells may contribute to the preservation of a splenic-dependent immune response after partial splenectomy.





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Publication Info

Tracy, Elisabeth T, Karen M Haas, Tracy Gentry, Melissa Danko, Joseph L Roberts, Joanne Kurtzberg and Henry E Rice (2011). Partial splenectomy but not total splenectomy preserves immunoglobulin M memory B cells in mice. Journal of pediatric surgery, 46(9). pp. 1706–1710. 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.04.020 Retrieved from

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Elisabeth Tomlinson Tracy

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Joseph Linton Roberts

Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics

My overall research interests are studying T cell development and defining the molecular bases of inherited immunodeficiency diseases. We are using standard candidate gene analysis approaches as well as new high throughput genome-wide sequencing, bioinformatics and functional screening in zebrafish and murine models in our work. Using these strategies we have recently reported a new molecular etiology of severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), CD3 zeta chain deficiency. In collaboration with Dr. Wesley Burks we are also examining changes in T cell transcription patterns following treatment for peanut allergy using genome wide oligonucleotide microarrays.


Joanne Kurtzberg

Jerome S. Harris Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Kurtzberg is an internationally renowned expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood and birthing tissues in the emerging fields of cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.   Dr. Kurtzberg serves as the Director of the Marcus Center for Cellular Cures (MC3), Director of the Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program, Director of the Carolinas Cord Blood Bank, and Co-Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory at Duke University.  The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank is an FDA licensed public cord blood bank distributing unrelated cord blood units for donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) through the CW Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.  The Robertson GMP Cell Manufacturing Laboratory supports manufacturing of RETHYMIC (BLA, Enzyvant, 2021), allogeneic cord tissue derived and bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), and DUOC, a microglial/macrophage cell derived from cord blood.

Dr. Kurtzberg’s research in MC3 focuses on translational studies from bench to bedside, seeking to develop transformative clinical therapies using cells, tissues, molecules, genes, and biomaterials to treat diseases and injuries that currently lack effective treatments. Recent areas of investigation in MC3 include clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood in children with neonatal brain injury – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP), and autism. Clinical trials testing allogeneic cord blood are also being conducted in adults with acute ischemic stroke. Clinical trials optimizing manufacturing and testing the safety and efficacy of cord tissue MSCs in children with autism, CP and HIE and adults with COVID-lung disease are underway. DUOC, given intrathecally, is under study in children with leukodystrophies and adults with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

In the past, Dr. Kurtzberg has developed novel chemotherapeutic drugs for acute leukemias, assays enumerating ALDH bright cells to predict cord blood unit potency, methods of cord blood expansion, potency assays for targeted cell and tissue based therapies. Dr. Kurtzberg currently holds several INDs for investigational clinical trials from the FDA.  She has also trained numerous medical students, residents, clinical and post-doctoral fellows over the course of her career.

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