Changes in the B-cell repertoire with age

Vaccine. 2000 Feb 25;18(16):1624-8. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(99)00497-1.


Changes in the B-cell repertoire during aging include a shift in antibody specificities from foreign to autologous antigens associated with a decline in the activity of conventional B2 compared to B1 lymphocytes. The age-associated increase in B1 lymphocyte number and activity contribute to the increased serum concentration of autoantibodies and the B-cell clonal expansions that develop with age. Aging is also associated with a decreased diversity of the antibody response reflected in the preferential loss of IgG and high affinity antibodies following immunization with a foreign antigen. Many of these changes can be traced to an impaired capacity of T cells to support isotype switching and somatic mutation in the periphery and the generation of a diverse B-cell repertoire from bone marrow B-cell precursors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Antibody Diversity
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Autoantibodies / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Autoantibodies
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes