Germinal centre and marginal zone B cells expand quickly in a second Plasmodium chabaudi malaria infection producing mature plasma cells

R. Stephens, F. M. Ndungu, J. Langhorne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


Antibodies and B cells are critical in the protective immune response to the blood stage of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi. However, little is known about the development of memory B cells and their differentiation into plasma cells during infection or after re-infection. Here we have shown that B cells with phenotypic characteristics of memory cells (CD19+IgD - CD38+, IgG1+) are generated in a primary Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi infection of mice. In addition, we observed that germinal centre cells (CD19+, GL7+, MHCIIhi) and Marginal Zone B cells (CD19+CD23-IgD-) show faster expansion on re-infection than in the primary, though other subsets do not. Interestingly, though both IgM- and IgM+ memory cells are produced, IgM+ memory cells do not expand on second infection. The second infection quickly produced mature bone marrow plasma cells (intracellular Ighi, CD138hi, CD9+, B220 -), compared to primary infection; which generates a very large population of immature splenic plasma cells (B220+). This analysis suggests that a memory B cell population is generated after a single infection of malaria, which on re-infection responds quickly producing germinal centres and generating long-lived plasma cells making the second encounter with parasite more efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages12
JournalParasite Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • B lymphocyte
  • Immunological memory
  • Malaria
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology

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