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Immunity. 2001 May;14(5):617-29.

Marginal zone and B1 B cells unite in the early response against T-independent blood-borne particulate antigens.

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Division of Developmental and Clinical Immunology, Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The rate of pathogen elimination determines the extent and consequences of an infection. In this context, the spleen with its highly specialized lymphoid compartments plays a central role in clearing blood-borne pathogens. Splenic marginal zone B cells (MZ), by virtue of their preactivated state and topographical location, join B1 B cells to generate a massive wave of IgM producing plasmablasts in the initial 3 days of a primary response to particulate bacterial antigens. Because of the intensity and rapidity of this response, combined with the types of antibodies produced, splenic MZ and B1 B cells endowed with a "natural memory" provide a bridge between the very early innate and the later appearing adaptive immune response.

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