Long-term maintenance of polysaccharide-specific antibodies by IgM-secreting cells

Academic Article


  • Many bacteria-associated polysaccharides induce long-lived Ab responses that protect against pathogenic microorganisms. The maintenance of polysaccharide-specific Ab titers may be due to long-lived plasma cells or ongoing Ag-driven B cell activation due to polysaccharide persistence. BALB/c and V HJ558.3 transgenic mice respond to α1→3-dextran (DEX) by generating a peak anti-DEX response at 7 d, followed by maintenance of serum Ab levels for up to 150 d. Analysis of the cellular response to DEX identified a population of short-lived, cyclophosphamide-sensitive DEX-specific plasmablasts in the spleen, and a quiescent, cyclophosphamide-resistant DEX-specific Ab-secreting population in the bone marrow. BrdU pulse-chase experiments demonstrated the longevity of the DEX-specific Ab-secreting population in the bone marrow. Splenic DEX-specific plasmablasts were located in the red pulp with persisting DEX-associated CD11c + dendritic cells 90 d after immunization, whereas DEX was not detected in the bone marrow after 28 d. Selective depletion of short-lived DEX-specific plasmablasts and memory B1b B cells using cyclophosphamide and anti-CD20 treatment had a minimal impact on the maintenance of serum anti-DEX Abs. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that the maintenance of serum polysaccharide-specific Abs is the result of continuous Ag-driven formation of short-lived plasmablasts in the spleen and a quiescent population of Absecreting cells maintained in the bone marrow for a long duration. Copyright © 2011 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Foote JB; Mahmoud TI; Vale AM; Kearney JF
  • Start Page

  • 57
  • End Page

  • 67
  • Volume

  • 188
  • Issue

  • 1