Reference values for B cell subpopulations from infancy to adulthood

Clin Exp Immunol. 2010 Nov;162(2):271-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2010.04206.x. Epub 2010 Sep 20.


The composition of the peripheral blood lymphocyte compartment underlies developmental changes during ontogeny. Recently, several new B cell populations have been characterized which were suggested to develop in an age-dependent manner. However, age-dependent reference values for distinct B cell populations have rarely been reported. Therefore, we have characterized developmental changes in peripheral B cell populations from infancy to adulthood in order to define age-dependent reference values. Using a flow cytometric approach we analysed the frequencies as well as the absolute counts of naive, switched and non-switched memory B cells, CD27-negative memory B cells, transitional B cells as well as CD21(low) CD38(low) B cells from neonates up to the age of 50 years. Most of the B cell subsets showed age-dependent developmental changes: while the peripheral B cell pool during infancy is characterized predominantly by transitional and naive B cells, the fraction of switched and non-switched memory B cells increases gradually with age. CD21(low) CD38(low) B cells as well as plasmablasts do not exhibit developmental changes. In summary, we could demonstrate particular changes in the peripheral blood B cell compartment during ontogeny. This study provides reference values of different B cell subpopulations offering comparability for studies addressing disturbed peripheral B cell development in immunodeficiency, autoimmunity or B cell reconstitution following cell-depleting therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1 / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Antigens, CD19 / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • CD24 Antigen / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin D / metabolism
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Infant
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Count*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Complement 3d / metabolism
  • Reference Values
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7 / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, CD19
  • CD24 Antigen
  • CD24 protein, human
  • Immunoglobulin D
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Complement 3d
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Superfamily, Member 7
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • PTPRC protein, human
  • CD38 protein, human
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1