The ageing human B cell repertoire: a failure of selection?

D. K. Dunn-Walters
  • Clinical & Experimental Immunology, October 2015, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/cei.12700

What is it about?

B cells produce antibodies and both the B cells, and the antibodies they produce, are very important in protecting us from infections. We have a very large number of different B cells so that we can recognise a large number of potential challenges. As a result of this we need a mechanism to make sure that the B cells don't recognise self - which would put us at risk of developing autoimmune disease. So during B cell development there are both negative and positive selection influences on the repertoire of possible B cells. In this review I discuss the evidence suggesting that these selective influences change in older people.

Why is it important?

We need to find ways to improve the immune system of older people. Thinking about the B cell repertoire in ageing as something that can be shaped by a failure of selective processes will lead future work on ageing B cell immunology to look carefully at the mechanisms of selection


Professor Deborah K Dunn-Walters
King's College London

This review brings together evidence from a number of different studies to create the hypothesis that the older B cell repertoire is dysregulated due to selection failure. I enjoyed writing it and hope that it is food for thought.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Deborah K Dunn-Walters