B cell responses to a peptide epitope. VII. Antigen-dependent modulation of the germinal center reaction

Agarwal, Anshu ; Nayak, Bishnu P. ; Rao, Kanury V. S. (1998) B cell responses to a peptide epitope. VII. Antigen-dependent modulation of the germinal center reaction The Journal of Immunology, 161 (11). pp. 5832-5841. ISSN 0022-1767

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Official URL: http://www.jimmunol.org/content/161/11/5832.short


Germinal center responses to two analogous peptides, PS1CT3 and G32CT3, that differ in sequence only at one position within the B cell epitopic region were examined. In comparison with peptide PS1CT3, peptide G32CT3 elicited a poor germinal center response. By demonstrating equal facility of immune complexes with IgM and IgG Ab isotypes to seed germinal centers, we excluded differences in isotype profiles of early primary anti-PS1CT3 and anti-G32CT3 Ig as the probable cause. Quantitative differences in germinal center responses to the two peptides were also not due to either qualitative/quantitative differences in T cell priming or variation in the frequency of the early Ag-activated B cells induced. Rather, they resulted from qualitative differences in the nature of B cells primed. Analysis of early primary anti-PS1CT3 and anti-G32CT3 IgMs revealed that the latter population was of a distinctly lower affinity, implying the existence of an Ag affinity threshold that restricts germinal center recruitment of G32CT3-specific B cells. The impediment in anti-G32CT3 germinal center initiation could be overcome by making available an excess of Ag-activated Th cells at the time of immunization. This resulted in the appearance of a higher affinity population of G32CT3-specific B cells that, presumably, are now capable of seeding germinal centers. These data suggest that the strength of a germinal center reaction generated is Ag dependent. At least one regulatory parameter represents the quality of B cells that are initially primed.

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