Some antigens induce Ab responses without T lymphocyte help. Among these, many polysaccharide-based antigens cause marginal zone B cells to proliferate and differentiate into plasma cells. 131 cells also respond to some of these antigens. In this article, we report that antigen-specific B1b cells, in response to the T-independent antigen (4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl)-acetyl (NP)-Ficoll, develop into clones that sustain Ab production for months with continued production of plasma cells and the accumulation of antigen-specific B cells in follicles. The persistence of this T-independent plasmablast response contrasts with the short-term plasmablast growth associated with T-dependent extrafollicular responses. The nature of the cells responding to NIP-Ficoll was probed by using chimeras that have B1 cells but lack primary B lymphopoietic capacity and have very few B2 cells or T cells. The chimeras were constructed by transferring 10(5) IgM(+) IgD(-) peritoneal exudate cells into mice unable to produce their own T and B cells because of deficiency in recombinase-activating gene 1 (RAG-1). The chimeras mounted sustained IgM and IgG3 anti-NP Ab responses to NP-Ficoll. This finding was associated with continued NP-specific extrafollicular plasmablast growth and the accumulation of NIP-specific B cells in follicles. B cells were not found in the marginal zones of chimeras, and they also lacked recirculating IgD(+) cells and CD3(+) cells. The absence of B2 and T cells confirms that hemopoietic cell chimerism leading to primary lymphopoiesis had not been established.
- B1 cells