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J Infect Dis. 2008 Oct 1;198(7):1055-61. doi: 10.1086/591500.

Cholera toxin-specific memory B cell responses are induced in patients with dehydrating diarrhea caused by Vibrio cholerae O1.

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International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh.



Infection with Vibrio cholerae induces durable immunity against subsequent disease, a process hypothesized to reflect anamnestic immune responses at the intestinal mucosa. The presence of antigen-specific memory B cells may therefore be a more direct measure of protection than serum antibody responses.


We measured immunoglobulin (Ig) G memory B cells specific to cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) in 14 patients up to 90 days after V. cholerae O1 infection, by polyclonal stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells followed by standard enzyme-linked immunospot assay.


All patients generated CTB-specific IgG memory B cell responses by day 30 (mean, 0.10% of total circulating IgG memory B cells; range, 0.037%-0.28%), which persisted to day 90 (mean, 0.07%; range, 0.003%-0.27%). In contrast, circulating CTB-specific IgG antibody-secreting cells and serum vibriocidal and anti-CTB antibody responses peaked on day 7 and declined to undetectable or significantly lower levels by day 90.


CTB-specific IgG memory B cell responses are detectable in the circulation at least 3 months after V. cholerae O1 infection and remain measurable even after serum antibody titers have declined to undetectable or considerably lower levels. This suggests that antigen-specific memory B cells may be an important long-term marker of the immune response to cholera.

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