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The maintenance of adequate serum Ab levels following immunization has been identified as the most important mechanism for individual long-term protection against rapidly invading encapsulated bacteria. The mechanisms for maintaining adequate serum Ab levels and the relationship between Ag-specific memory B cells and Ab at steady state are poorly understood. We measured the frequency of circulating serogroup C meningococcal (MenC)-specific memory B cells in 250 healthy 6- to 12-y-old children 6 y following MenC conjugate vaccine priming, before a booster of a combined Haemophilus influenzae type b-MenC conjugate vaccine and then 1 wk, 1 mo, and 1 y after the booster. We investigated the relationship between circulating MenC-specific memory B cell frequencies and Ab at baseline and following the booster vaccine. We found very low frequencies of circulating MenC-specific memory B cells at steady state in primary school-aged children and little association with MenC IgG Ab levels. Following vaccination, there were robust memory B cell booster responses that, unlike Ab levels, were not dependent on age at priming with MenC. Measurement of B cell memory in peripheral blood does not predict steady state Ab levels nor the capacity to respond to a booster dose of MenC Ag.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





2673 - 2681


Age Factors, Antibodies, Bacterial, B-Lymphocyte Subsets, Child, Clinical Trials, Phase IV as Topic, Haemophilus Vaccines, Humans, Immunization, Secondary, Immunoglobulin G, Immunologic Memory, Meningococcal Vaccines, Neisseria meningitidis, Serogroup C, Vaccines, Combined, Vaccines, Conjugate