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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 May;69(10):1625-34. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-0971-z. Epub 2012 Apr 6.

IgM memory B cells: a mouse/human paradox.

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  • 1Faculté de Médecine, Site Necker-Enfants Malades, INSERM U783 Développement du système immunitaire, Université Paris Descartes, 156 rue de Vaugirard, Paris Cedex 15, France.


Humoral memory is maintained by two types of persistent cells, memory B cells and plasma cells, which have different phenotypes and functions. Long-lived plasma cells can survive for a lifespan within a complex niche in the bone marrow and provide continuous protective serum antibody levels. Memory B cells reside in secondary lymphoid organs, where they can be rapidly mobilized upon a new antigenic encounter. Surface IgG has long been taken as a surrogate marker for memory in the mouse. Recently, however, we have brought evidence for a long-lived IgM memory B cell population in the mouse, while we have also argued that, in humans, these same cells are not classical memory B cells but marginal zone (MZ) B cells which, as opposed to their mouse MZ counterpart, recirculate and carry a mutated B cell receptor. In this review, we will discuss these apparently paradoxical results.

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