Recirculating and germinal center B cells differentiate into cells responsive to polysaccharide antigens

Eur J Immunol. 2003 Feb;33(2):297-305. doi: 10.1002/immu.200310003.


Antibodies against bacterial capsular polysaccharides play a critical protective role. Responses to these antigens can occur without the help or control of T cells and are associated with marginal zone (MZ) B cells. Capsular antigens are diverse and some cross-react with self-carbohydrate epitopes. This diversity may explain the recruitment of non-autoreactive recirculating B cells and memory B cells to the MZ in addition to other B cells, some of which are weakly autoreactive cells, that are recruited to the MZ without entering the recirculating pool. To test whether memory B cells respond to polysaccharide-based antigens, mice with hapten-specific memory B cells were challenged with hapten-polysaccharide. Hapten-specific plasma cells producing high affinity antibody with Ig V-region mutations were induced. To test whether naive recirculating B cells can form MZ cells that respond to polysaccharide, recirculating B cells from lymph nodes were transferred into Rag-1-deficient mice. MZ cells differentiated from the donor cells without proliferation or T cell help and responded to polysaccharide-based antigen. The differentiation of B cells both from germinal centers and the recirculating pool to the MZ phenotype is likely to make an important contribution to the repertoire of B cells that respond to polysaccharide antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Antigens, T-Independent / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Gene Rearrangement, B-Lymphocyte
  • Genes, RAG-1
  • Germinal Center / cytology*
  • Haptens / immunology
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lymph Nodes / ultrastructure
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Nude
  • Models, Molecular
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial / immunology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antigens, T-Independent
  • Haptens
  • Polysaccharides, Bacterial