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Immunity. 2007 Feb;26(2):205-13.

Autoreactivity in human IgG+ memory B cells.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


More than half of the nascent B cells in humans initially express autoreactive antibodies. However, most of these autoantibodies are removed from the repertoire at two checkpoints before maturation into naive B cells. A third checkpoint excludes remaining autoantibodies from the antigen-experienced IgM(+) memory B cell pool. Nevertheless, low-affinity self-reactive antibodies are frequently found in the serum of normal humans. To determine the source of these antibodies, we cloned and expressed antibodies from circulating human IgG(+) memory B cells. Surprisingly, we found that self-reactive antibodies including anti-nuclear antibodies were frequently expressed by IgG(+) memory B cells in healthy donors. Most of these antibodies were created de novo by somatic hypermutation during the transition between mature naive and IgG(+) memory B cells. We conclude that deregulation of self-reactive IgG(+) memory B cells may be associated with autoimmunity.

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