, Volume 69, Issue 10, pp 1625-1634,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Apr 2012

IgM memory B cells: a mouse/human paradox


Humoral memory is maintained by two types of persistent cells, memory B cells and plasma cells, which have different phenotypes and functions. Long-lived plasma cells can survive for a lifespan within a complex niche in the bone marrow and provide continuous protective serum antibody levels. Memory B cells reside in secondary lymphoid organs, where they can be rapidly mobilized upon a new antigenic encounter. Surface IgG has long been taken as a surrogate marker for memory in the mouse. Recently, however, we have brought evidence for a long-lived IgM memory B cell population in the mouse, while we have also argued that, in humans, these same cells are not classical memory B cells but marginal zone (MZ) B cells which, as opposed to their mouse MZ counterpart, recirculate and carry a mutated B cell receptor. In this review, we will discuss these apparently paradoxical results.