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Abstract

Production of antibodies can last for a lifetime, through mechanisms that remain poorly understood. Here, we show that human memory B lymphocytes proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells in response to polyclonal stimuli, such as bystander T cell help and CpG DNA. Furthermore, plasma cells secreting antibodies to recall antigens are produced in vivo at levels proportional to the frequency of specific memory B cells, even several years after antigenic stimulation. Although antigen boosting leads to a transient increase in specific antibody levels, ongoing polyclonal activation of memory B cells offers a means to maintain serological memory for a human lifetime.

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Materials and Methods
Table S1
References and Notes

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Published In

Science
Volume 298 | Issue 5601
13 December 2002

Submission history

Received: 12 July 2002
Accepted: 7 October 2002
Published in print: 13 December 2002

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Authors

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Nadia L. Bernasconi*
Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Via Vela 6, CH 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.
Elisabetta Traggiai*
Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Via Vela 6, CH 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.
Antonio Lanzavecchia
Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Via Vela 6, CH 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland.

Notes

*
These authors contributed equally to this work.
To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: [email protected]

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