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Science. 2002 Dec 13;298(5601):2199-202.

Maintenance of serological memory by polyclonal activation of human memory B cells.

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  • 1Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Via Vela 6, CH 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.

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.

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