Natural and induced B-1 cell immunity to infections raises questions of nature versus nurture

Nicole Baumgarth, Elizabeth E. Waffarn, Trang T T Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Mouse B-1 cells are not only major producers of steady-state natural antibodies but also rapid responders to infections and inflammation. These discrete functions may be the outcomes of distinct environmental or developmental triggers that drive B-1 cells toward IgM production or an effector cell fate. Alternatively, distinct B-1 cell subsets may exist, which differ in their functional plasticity. In this paper, we summarize existing data suggesting that B-1 cells form a heterogeneous group of cells with distinct developmental requirements and nonoverlapping functions. Most spleen B-1 cells differ in development from that of bone marrow and peritoneal cavity B-1 cells, in that they develop in the absence of natural IgM. Functional heterogeneity is revealed by findings that B-1 cells in the bone marrow and spleen, but not the peritoneal cavity, generate natural serum IgM, while the latter are rapid responders to inflammatory and infectious insults, resulting in their relocation to secondary lymphoid tissues. A clearer understanding of the developmental and functional differences within the B-1 cell pool may reveal how they might be harnessed for prophylaxis or therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-199
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • B cell subsets
  • IgM
  • Influenza virus infections
  • Natural antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Medicine(all)


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