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J Immunol. 2007 Jan 1;178(1):67-76.

Regulation of memory antibody levels: the role of persisting antigen versus plasma cell life span.

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Cytos Biotechnology, Zurich-Schlieren, Switzerland.


Protective Ab levels can be maintained for years upon infection or vaccination. In this study, we studied the duration of Ab responses as a function of the life span of plasma cells and tested the role of persisting Ag in maintaining B cell memory. Our analysis of B cell responses induced in mice immunized with virus-like particles demonstrates the following: 1) Ab titers are long-lived, but decline continuously with a t(1/2) of approximately 80 days, which corresponds to the life span of plasma cells; 2) the germinal center (GC) reaction, which lasts for up to 100 days, is dependent on Ag associated with follicular dendritic cells; and 3) early GCs produce massive numbers of plasma and memory B cell precursors, whereas the late Ag-dependent GCs are dispensable for the maintenance of Ab levels and B cell memory.

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