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J Immunol. 2000 Jun 15;164(12):6296-302.

Correlation of T cell independence of antibody responses with antigen dose reaching secondary lymphoid organs: implications for splenectomized patients and vaccine design.

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Institute for Experimental Immunology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.


Many natural viral and bacterial pathogens activate B cells independently of Th cells (TI Ags). This study analyzed the characteristics of the activation of B cells after immunization with various forms of viral Ags using different immunization routes and found a decreasing dependence on T help with increasing amounts of Ag recruited to the spleen. Repetitive antigenic structure facilitated TI B cell responses if Ag was present in lymphoid organs. These results suggest that 1) Ag dose and localization in secondary lymphoid organs are the key for B cell activation in the absence of T help; 2) early TI Ab responses are crucial to protect against systemically spreading acute cytopathic infectious agents; and 3) there may be new rationales for improved vaccine design.

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