Low molecular weight antigen arrays delete high affinity memory B cells without affecting specific T-cell help

Johannes W. Reim, David E. Symer, Douglas C. Watson, Renee Z. Dintzis, Howard M. Dintzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An ongoing, T-cell dependent, secondary antibody response to an epitope can be suppressed in vivo by low molecular weight, soluble polymers, bearing multiple copies of the same epitope. This study illustrates that such suppressive T-cell independent antigen arrays target the epitope-specific, high affinity, memory B cells for long-term functional elimination. Splenocytes from hyperimmune unsuppressed donors, when adoptively transferred into irradiated recipients will readily reconstitute a secondary anti-hapten response after antigenic challenge. No such response was observed with splenocytes transferred from hyperimmune donors suppressed with antigen arrays. The extent of suppression depended on antigen array dose and duration of exposure in the donor animals. The suppressive antigen array carryover from the donors into the recipients was negligible and insufficient to account for the observed suppression. B cells from hyperimmune mice producing high affinity anti-fluorescein antibodies, generated by multiple fluoresceinated ovalbumin (FL-OVA) injections, were helped efficiently by T cells from hyperimmune donors, which were either unsuppressed or suppressed with antigen arrays. Accordingly, help from T cells, specific for the carrier protein remains intact after such suppression. Neither lipopolysaccharide (LPS), nor additional transferred carrier-primed T cells could reverse the unresponsiveness of adoptively transferred splenocytes from suppressed animals. Flow cytometry showed that the number of hapten-specific B cells was markedly reduced after suppression. Collectively, these data show that the long term elimination of an ongoing T-cell dependent antibody response by suppressive exogenous antigen arrays is due to the functional deletion of high affinity, antigen-specific B cells, even in the presence of adequate T-cell help. The long-term nature of such functional deletion strongly suggests physical deletion of the antigen-specific B cell population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1377-1388
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Immunology
Issue number17-18
StatePublished - Dec 1996


  • B lymphocytes
  • antibodies
  • antigens/peptides/epitope s
  • immunomodulators
  • tolerance/suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


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