Nature of B Cells That Respond to TIndependent Antigens

The marginal zone and B-1 subsets of B cells are especially important for antibody responses to TI antigens.

Whereas responses to T-dependent protein antigens are largely mediated by follicular B cells, other B cell subsets may be the primary responders to TI antigens (see Fig. 11-3). Marginal zone B cells are a distinct population of B cells that mainly respond to polysaccharides. After activation, these cells differentiate into short-lived plasma cells that produce mainly IgM. In humans these cells are also called IgM memory cells. B-1 cells represent another lineage of B cells that responds readily to TI antigens mainly in the peritoneum and in mucosal sites.

TI responses may be initiated in the spleen, bone marrow, peritoneal cavity, and mucosal sites. Macrophages located in the marginal zones surrounding lymphoid follicles in the spleen are particularly efficient at trapping polysaccharides when these antigens are injected intravenously. TI antigens may persist for prolonged periods on the surfaces of marginal zone macrophages, where they are recognized by specific B cells.

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