Bone marrow plasma cells producing antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein likely provide robust and long-lived immunity after mild COVID-19.pearl
- Jackson S Turner, Wooseob Kim, Elizaveta Kalaidina, Charles W Goss, Adriana M Rauseo, Aaron J Schmitz, Lena Hansen, Alem Haile, Michael K Klebert, Iskra Pusic, Jane A O'Halloran, Rachel M Presti, and Ali H Ellebedy.
- Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA.
- Nature. 2021 Jul 1; 595 (7867): 421-425.
AbstractLong-lived bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) are a persistent and essential source of protective antibodies1-7. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 have a substantially lower risk of reinfection with SARS-CoV-28-10. Nonetheless, it has been reported that levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies decrease rapidly in the first few months after infection, raising concerns that long-lived BMPCs may not be generated and humoral immunity against SARS-CoV-2 may be short-lived11-13. Here we show that in convalescent individuals who had experienced mild SARS-CoV-2 infections (n = 77), levels of serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S) antibodies declined rapidly in the first 4 months after infection and then more gradually over the following 7 months, remaining detectable at least 11 months after infection. Anti-S antibody titres correlated with the frequency of S-specific plasma cells in bone marrow aspirates from 18 individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 at 7 to 8 months after infection. S-specific BMPCs were not detected in aspirates from 11 healthy individuals with no history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We show that S-binding BMPCs are quiescent, which suggests that they are part of a stable compartment. Consistently, circulating resting memory B cells directed against SARS-CoV-2 S were detected in the convalescent individuals. Overall, our results indicate that mild infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces robust antigen-specific, long-lived humoral immune memory in humans.© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.
This article appears in the collection: COVID-19 and mRNA Vaccines.
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