Development of Plasmodium falciparum specific naïve, atypical, memory and plasma B cells during infancy and in adults in an endemic area
Reddy, S. B.
Persson, K. E. M.
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Background: B-cells are essential in immunity against malaria, but which sub-sets of B-cells specifically recognize Plasmodium falciparum and when they appear is still largely unknown. Results: Using the flow cytometry technique for detection of P. falciparum specific (Pf+) B-cells, this study for the first time measured the development of Pf+ B cell (CD19+) phenotypes in Ugandan babies from birth up to nine months, and in their mothers. The babies showed increases in Pf+ IgG memory B-cells (MBCs), atypical MBCs, and plasma cells/blasts over time, but the proportion of these cells were still lower than in the mothers who displayed stable levels (5, 18, and 3%, respectively). Pf+ non-IgG+ MBCs and naïve B-cells binding to P. falciparum antigens were higher in the babies compared to the mothers (12 and 50%). In ELISA there was an increase in IgG and IgM antibodies over time in babies, and stable levels in mothers. At baby delivery, multigravidae mothers had a higher proportion of Pf+ IgG MBCs and less Pf+ naïve B-cells than primigravidae mothers. Conclusions: In newborns, naïve B-cells are a major player in recognizing P. falciparum. In adults, the high proportion of Pf+ atypical MBCs suggests a major role for these cells. Both in infants and adults, non-IgG+ MBCs were higher than IgG MBCs, indicating that these cells deserve more focus in future.
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