Circulating human IgM expressing memory B cells have been incompletely characterized. Here, we compared the phenotype and in vitro functional response (capacity to proliferate and differentiate to antibody secreting cells) in response to CpG and a cytokine cocktail (IL-2, IL-6, and IL-10) of sorted naive B cells, IgM memory B cells and isotype-switched circulating memory B cells. Compared to naive B cells, IgM memory B cells had lower integrated mean fluorescence intensity (iMFI) of BAFF-R, CD38, CD73, and IL-21R, but higher iMFI of CD95, CD11c, TLR9, PD-1, and CD122. Compared to switched memory B cells, IgM memory B cells had higher iMFI of BAFF-R, PD-1, IL-21R, TLR9, and CD122, but lower iMFI of CD38, CD95, and CD73. Four days after receiving the CpG/cytokine cocktail, higher frequencies of IgM than switched memory B cells-and these in turn greater than naive cells-proliferated and differentiated to antibody secreting cells. At this time point, a small percentage (median of 7.6%) of stimulated IgM memory B cells changed isotype to IgG. Thus, among the heterogeneous population of human circulating IgM memory B cells a subset is capable of a rapid functional response to a CpG/cytokine stimulus in vitro.
Vásquez, C., Franco, M. A., Angel, J., & Kassiotis, G. (2015). Rapid proliferation and differentiation of a subset of circulating IgM memory B Cells to a CpG/Cytokine stimulus in vitro. PLoS ONE, 10(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0139718