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J Immunol. 2014 Dec 1;193(11):5414-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1401828. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

Overcoming the dichotomy of quantity and quality in antibody responses.

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Department of Systems Immunology, Braunschweig Integrated Centre of Systems Biology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany; andInstitute for Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Braunschweig University of Technology, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany


Germinal centers (GCs) are specialized environments in which B cells mutate their BCR to identify new Abs with high affinity to a challenging Ag. B cells are selected in an evolutionary process of multiple rounds of mutation and selection. In the past decade, mechanisms of B cell migration, division, mutation, selection, and final differentiation have been extensively studied. Thereby, modulations of these mechanisms either optimize the quality, in terms of affinity, or the quantity of generated Abs, but never both, leading to an unclear effect on the overall efficiency of the Ab response. In this article, we predict with mathematical models that an affinity-dependent number of GC B cell divisions overcomes the dichotomy of quality and quantity, and has to be considered as a good target for immune interventions, in particular, in the elderly population with poor GC responses.

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