Potential functions of atypical memory B cells in Plasmodium-exposed individuals

Int J Parasitol. 2020 Nov;50(13):1033-1042. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2020.08.003. Epub 2020 Sep 26.


Naturally acquired iummunity against clinical malaria is slow to develop, taking years of repeated exposure to parasites to acquire sufficiently broad and potent antibody responses. Increasing evidence suggests that Plasmodium infection and the resulting immune stimulation contribute to changes in the B cell compartment. In particular, accumulation of atypical memory B cells (atMBCs) is common in Plasmodium-exposed individuals. Similarities to B cell subsets present in other acute and chronic disease settings have provided insight into the development and potential function of these cells; however, their contribution to protection against malaria is still poorly understood. Here, we discuss recent findings that have increased our understanding of atMBCs and outline outstanding questions related to their function and development in the protective immune response to malaria.

Keywords: Atypical memory B cell; FcRL5; Humoral immunity; IFNγ; Plasmodium; T-bet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Malaria* / immunology
  • Plasmodium*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan