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Maintenance of Serological Memory by Polyclonal Activation of Human Memory B Cells

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Science  13 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5601, pp. 2199-2202
DOI: 10.1126/science.1076071

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Abstract

Production of antibodies can last for a lifetime, through mechanisms that remain poorly understood. Here, we show that human memory B lymphocytes proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells in response to polyclonal stimuli, such as bystander T cell help and CpG DNA. Furthermore, plasma cells secreting antibodies to recall antigens are produced in vivo at levels proportional to the frequency of specific memory B cells, even several years after antigenic stimulation. Although antigen boosting leads to a transient increase in specific antibody levels, ongoing polyclonal activation of memory B cells offers a means to maintain serological memory for a human lifetime.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: lanzavecchia{at}irb.unisi.ch

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