Humoral immunity due to long-lived plasma cells

Mark K. Slifka, Rustom Antia, Jason K. Whitmire, Rafi Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

952 Scopus citations


Conventional models suggest that long-term antibody responses are maintained by the continuous differentiation of memory B cells into antibody- secreting plasma cells. This is based on the notion that plasma cells are short-lived and need to be continually replenished by memory B cells. We examined the issue of plasma cell longevity by following the persistence of LCMV-specific antibody and plasma cell numbers after in vivo depletion of memory B cells and by adoptive transfer of virus-specific plasma cells into naive mice. The results show that a substantial fraction of plasma cells can survive and continue to secrete antibody for extended periods of time (>1 year) in the absence of any detectable memory B cells. This study documents the existence of long-lived plasma cells and demonstrates a new mechanism by which humoral immunity is maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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