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J Infect Dis. 2011 Nov 15;204(10):1514-22. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir607. Epub 2011 Sep 19.

B-cell responses during primary and secondary dengue virus infections in humans.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.


Low-avidity serotype-cross-reactive antibodies are hypothesized to play a key role in triggering severe disease in patients with secondary dengue virus (DENV) infection. However, there is little systematic information about the frequency, avidity, and cross-reactivity of DENV-specific B cells in individuals experiencing primary instead of secondary infection. We compared DENV-specific B-cell responses in a cohort of Thai children with primary or secondary DENV infection. B cells specific for DENV precursor membrane protein, envelope (E) protein, and nonstructural protein 1 were detectable in immune peripheral blood mononuclear cells with the highest frequencies of DENV E-specific B cells detected in patients experiencing primary DENV-1 infections. DENV E-specific B cells were highly serotype-specific after primary DENV infections, whereas most E-specific B cells in patients with secondary infection were serotype-cross-reactive and secreted antibodies with higher avidity to heterologous DENV serotypes. Our data suggest that the minor populations of serotype-cross-reactive B cells generated by primary DENV infection are preferentially expanded during secondary DENV infection.

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