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What Is a Naive B Cell?

By A. Reed
Updated May 17, 2024
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Naive B cells refer to white blood cells that have not been activated by an antigen. Responsible for manufacturing antibodies, B cells assist in eliminating harmful pathogens and help to prevent subsequent assaults from re-occurring. Helper T cells, known as CD4 lymphocytes, are necessary to activate a naive B cell. Some activated naive B cells actually become memory cells that provide protection even after any threats have been subdued. ​

Also called immunoglobulin (Ig), an antibody molecule chiefly functions in combining with an antigen and then activating certain activities that work to disintegrate the antigen fixed upon it. It can prompt cell-eating activity or lysis, for example. Even though the antigen is not killed by the antibody specifically, it presents a form by which it will be recognized, designating it for degradation.

B cells are active in a type of immunity referred to as antibody-mediated immunity, which is also sometimes known as humoral immunity. The B cell can make replications of a certain antibody, which acts as a binder site on the outside of the cell's membrane for the purpose of attracting antigens. Only a B cell exhibiting the right receptor on its outer membrane can successfully combine with a specific kind of antigen, at which point activation of the naive B cell begins.

The antigen is broken down into peptide particles once it is inside of the B cell, which shows the particles of peptide by forming an antigen-protein complex on the outside of the cell. As the antigen-protein complex is prominently exposed, the activated helper T cell attaches itself to it, and the B cell is transformed into an antigen-presenting cell (APC) to the T cell. The activated helper T cell releases interleukin, which, combined with the antigen, serves to completely activate the naive B cell.

After the naïve B cell has been stimulated, the cell become larger, dividing into identical cloned cells. Each B cell of the clone then makes antibodies specific to the antigen that activated the first B cell. The clone's receptor specification has already been determined before the B cell actually links up with the antigen.

A few of the cells that came from the cloned version further develop into cells which excrete antibodies into circulation that are specifically made for the antigen. Plasma cells from the cloned B cell remain inside of lymph nodes, while those of T cells relocate away from the lymphatic tissues. Secreted antibodies from the B cell plasma cells do, however, move out of the lymphatic tissues to an infected area within the bloodstream and lymphatic fluid.

Sometimes, a naive B cell that has been activated does not become a plasma cell, but instead turns into a memory cell. Through a type of survival gene, memory B cells do not succumb to cell death and are programmed to dispense antibodies for protection later after an infection has ended. Memory B cells also produce clones.

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