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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Feb 17;95(4):1730-4.

A role for B cells in the development of T cell helper function in a malaria infection in mice.

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Department of Biology, Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BB, United Kingdom.


B cell knockout mice are unable to clear a primary erythrocytic infection of Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi. However, the early acute infection is controlled to some extent, giving rise to a chronic relapsing parasitemia that can be reduced either by drug treatment or by adoptive transfer of B cells. Similar to mice rendered B-cell deficient by lifelong treatment with anti-mu antibodies, B cell knockout mice (muMT) retain a predominant CD4+ Th1-like response to malarial antigens throughout a primary infection. This contrasts with the response seen in control C57BL/6 mice in which the CD4+ T-cell response has switched to that characteristic of Th2 cells at the later stages of infection, manifesting efficient help for specific antibodies in vitro and interleukin 4 production. Both chloroquine and adoptive transfer of immune B cells reduced parasite load. However, the adoptive transfer of B cells resulted in a Th2 response in recipient muMT mice, as indicated by a relative increase in the precursor frequency of helper cells for antibody production. These data support the idea that B cells play a role in the regulation of CD4+ T subset responses.

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