Memory B Cells but not Virgin B Cells are Activated in Germinal Centers

  • David Gray
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 237)


In chimaeras constructed by transferring K-allotype distinct DNP-haemocyanin-primed thoracic duct lymphocytes (TDL) into irradiated (hind limb bone marrow shielded) recipients the activation of virgin (host allotype) B cells is often transient falling to negligible levels within 14 days (1). The lower affinity of antigen receptors on virgin B cells compared to memory B cells precludes their continued activation as antigen becomes limiting. However, as antibody levels rise antigen is re-localised into follicles in the form of immune complex (2,3). Recently it has been shown that virgin B cells after transfer do not migrate into follicular structures, in contrast to transferred TDL (4). This raises the possibility that virgin and memory B cell activation occurs at different sites. When the supply of antigen is high (soon after immunisation) both virgin and memory B cells are activated at extra-foilicular sites but as antigen levels fall and re-localisation onto follicular dendritic cells (FDC) occurs, only memory B cells gain access to the antigen supply.


Immune Complex Donor Cell Antigen Receptor Follicular Dendritic Cell Spider Crab 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.Basel Institute for ImmunologyBaselSwitzerland

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