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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015 Dec;1362:188-99. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12804. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

Natural and induced B-1 cell immunity to infections raises questions of nature versus nurture.

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Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California, Davis, California.
Graduate Group in Immunology, University of California, Davis, California.
Department of Pathology, Microbiology, Immunology, University of California, Davis, California.


Mouse B-1 cells are not only major producers of steady-state natural antibodies but also rapid responders to infections and inflammation. These discrete functions may be the outcomes of distinct environmental or developmental triggers that drive B-1 cells toward IgM production or an effector cell fate. Alternatively, distinct B-1 cell subsets may exist, which differ in their functional plasticity. In this paper, we summarize existing data suggesting that B-1 cells form a heterogeneous group of cells with distinct developmental requirements and nonoverlapping functions. Most spleen B-1 cells differ in development from that of bone marrow and peritoneal cavity B-1 cells, in that they develop in the absence of natural IgM. Functional heterogeneity is revealed by findings that B-1 cells in the bone marrow and spleen, but not the peritoneal cavity, generate natural serum IgM, while the latter are rapid responders to inflammatory and infectious insults, resulting in their relocation to secondary lymphoid tissues. A clearer understanding of the developmental and functional differences within the B-1 cell pool may reveal how they might be harnessed for prophylaxis or therapy.


B cell subsets; IgM; influenza virus infections; natural antibodies

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