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Eur J Immunol. 1999 Apr;29(4):1406-17.

Correlation analysis between frequencies of circulating antigen-specific IgG-bearing memory B cells and serum titers of antigen-specific IgG.

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Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.


Recent studies in mice have indicated that the long-lasting specific antibody responses seen after vaccination are probably due to the existence of long-lived plasma cells. Therefore, because the maintenance of humoral immunity does not necessarily reflect continuous restimulation of long-lived memory B cells, the question arises as to what degree antibody immunity, as determined by measuring serum immunoglobulin titers against a particular antigen, and memory B cell immunity, as determined by counting circulating memory B cells with specificity for that same antigen, correlate. Here, using a new assay combining two-step immunomagnetic enrichment with multiparameter flow cytometry to detect, enumerate and characterize antigen-specific memory B cells, we show for tetanus toxin C-fragment in blood of normal tetanus toxoid vaccinized donors, and for wasp venom phospholipase A1B in blood of wasp venom-allergic donors undergoing an immune therapy with wasp venom, that there is no statistically significant linear correlation between the frequencies of circulating antigen-specific IgG-bearing memory B cells and the serum titers of antigen-specific IgG. This lack of a statistically significant linear correlation is in accordance with the idea that B memory cells and plasma cells represent independently controlled forms of immunological memory.

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