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Protective Ab levels can be maintained for years upon infection or vaccination. In this study, we studied the duration of Ab responses as a function of the life span of plasma cells and tested the role of persisting Ag in maintaining B cell memory. Our analysis of B cell responses induced in mice immunized with virus-like particles demonstrates the following: 1) Ab titers are long-lived, but decline continuously with a t(1/2) of approximately 80 days, which corresponds to the life span of plasma cells; 2) the germinal center (GC) reaction, which lasts for up to 100 days, is dependent on Ag associated with follicular dendritic cells; and 3) early GCs produce massive numbers of plasma and memory B cell precursors, whereas the late Ag-dependent GCs are dispensable for the maintenance of Ab levels and B cell memory.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





67 - 76


Allolevivirus, Animals, Antibodies, Antigens, Cell Proliferation, Dendritic Cells, Follicular, Germinal Center, Immunization, Immunoglobulins, Immunologic Memory, Immunosuppression, Kinetics, Lymphotoxin beta Receptor, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Plasma Cells, Virion