B cells as antigen presenting cells

Cell Immunol. 2005 Dec;238(2):67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2006.02.005. Epub 2006 Mar 30.


Several characteristics confer on B cells the ability to present antigen efficiently: (1) they can find T cells in secondary lymphoid organs shortly after antigen entrance, (2) BCR-mediated endocytosis allows them to concentrate small amounts of specific antigen, and (3) BCR signaling and HLA-DO expression direct their antigen processing machinery to favor presentation of antigens internalized through the BCR. When presenting antigen in a resting state, B cells can induce T cell tolerance. On the other hand, activation by antigen and T cell help converts them into APC capable of promoting immune responses. Presentation of self antigens by B cells is important in the development of autoimmune diseases, while presentation of tumor antigens is being used in vaccine strategies to generate immunity. Thus, detailed understanding of the antigen presenting function of B cells can lead to their use for the generation or inhibition of immune responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell / immunology
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Receptors, Antigen, B-Cell
  • Vaccines