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Clin Immunol. 2014 Aug;153(2):264-76. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2014.04.017. Epub 2014 May 9.

Phenotypes and distribution of mucosal memory B-cell populations in the SIV/SHIV rhesus macaque model.

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Section on Immune Biology of Retroviral Infection, Vaccine Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Biostatistics and Data Management Section, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Section on Immune Biology of Retroviral Infection, Vaccine Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Electronic address:


As vaccine-elicited antibodies have now been associated with HIV protective efficacy, a thorough understanding of mucosal and systemic B-cell development and maturation is needed. We phenotyped mucosal memory B-cells, investigated isotype expression and homing patterns, and defined plasmablasts and plasma cells at three mucosal sites (duodenum, jejunum and rectum) in rhesus macaques, the commonly used animal model for pre-clinical vaccine studies. Unlike humans, macaque mucosal memory B-cells lacked CD27 expression; only two sub-populations were present: naïve (CD21(+)CD27(-)) and tissue-like (CD21(-)CD27(-)) memory. Similar to humans, IgA was the dominant isotype expressed. The homing markers CXCR4, CCR6, CCR9 and α4β7 were differentially expressed between naïve and tissue-like memory B-cells. Mucosal plasmablasts were identified as CD19(+)CD20(+/-)HLA-DR(+)Ki-67(+)IRF4(+)CD138(+/-) and mucosal plasma cells as CD19(+)CD20(-)HLA-DR(-)Ki-67(-)IRF4(+)CD138(+). Both populations were CD39(+/-)CD27(-). Plasma cell phenotype was confirmed by spontaneous IgA secretion by ELISpot of positively-selected cells and J-chain expression by real-time PCR. Duodenal, jejunal and rectal samples were similar in B-cell memory phenotype, isotype expression, homing receptors and plasmablast/plasma cell distribution among the three tissues. Thus rectal biopsies adequately monitor B-cell dynamics in the gut mucosa, and provide a critical view of mucosal B-cell events associated with development of vaccine-elicited protective immune responses and SIV/SHIV pathogenesis and disease control.


Homing markers; Mucosal memory B cell phenotypes and distribution; Plasmablasts/plasma cells; SIV/SHIV rhesus macaque model

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