Memory B cell compartment constitution and susceptibility to recurrent lower respiratory tract infections in young children.

Journal of leukocyte biology

PubMedID: 23530161

Siebert JN, L'huillier AG, Grillet S, Delhumeau C, Siegrist CA, Posfay-Barbe KM. Memory B cell compartment constitution and susceptibility to recurrent lower respiratory tract infections in young children. J Leukoc Biol. 2013;93(6):951-62.
A proportion of children have recurrent LRTIs, mostly as a result of Spn, which persist after 2 years of age. Here, we investigate, by flow cytofluorometry, the constitution of the memory B cell compartment in 90 healthy children and 49 children with recurrent LRTIs to determine if an increased susceptibility to recurrent LRTIs results from a delayed or abnormal ontogeny with poor antibody-mediated protection. Total IgA, IgM, IgG, and IgG subclasses were measured by nephelometry, as well as antipneumococcal antibodies by ELISA. Pneumococcal vaccination status was obtained. We show that the memory B cells increase between birth and 2 years of age (1.6% vs. 21.1%, P<0.001) without further significant increase noted per additional years (3-4 years old: 23.3%; 4-5 years old: 22.2%, P>0.40) to reach adult-like values (31.8±11.8%, P=0.08). Proportions of switched and IgM memory B cells were similar in children and adults. Comparatively, LRTI children had no delay in the constitution of their memory B cell compartment (2-3 years old: 26.9%; 3-4 years old: 18.2%; 4-5 years old: 26.8%, P>0.05). Their switched and IgM memory B cells were similar among age categories, and the distribution was overall similar to that of healthy controls. LRTI children had normal total and pneumococcal serotype-specific antibody values but showed a rapid waning of antipneumococcal antibody levels after vaccination. In summary, our results show that the memory B cell compartment is already similarly constituted at 2 years of age in healthy and LRTI children and thus, cannot explain the increased susceptibility to bacterial pneumonia. However, the waning of antibodies might predispose children to recurrent infections in the absence of revaccination.