Article thumbnail

Non-specific polyclonal antibody response induced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

By G. Biberfeld, P. Arneborn, M. Forsgren, L. V. von Stedingk and S. Blomqvist


The ability of heat-killed Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) organisms to induce polyclonal antibody production in cultures of blood lymphocytes of healthy subjects was studied. MP induced both IgM and IgG production, with a predominance of IgM. Supernatants of MP-stimulated lymphocyte cultures were tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibodies to measles, rubella, and herpes simplex virus. MP as well as pokeweed mitogen induced production of viral antibodies of IgG class in lymphocytes of donors who had serum antibodies to the corresponding viral antigens. The MP-induced non-specific antibody response was T-cell-dependent. Lymphocytes from four patients with MP pneumonia, collected nine to 13 days after onset of illness, were tested for in vitro Ig production in the absence of MP. These lymphocytes spontaneously produced increased amounts of IgM and/or IgG. Lymphocytes from three of these four patients spontaneously produced viral IgG antibodies to measles and/or varicella antigens, indicating that MP had induced non-specific activation of memory B cells in vivo. Spontaneous viral antibody production was not found in lymphocyte cultures of healthy donors. The non-specific activation of blood B cells in vitro is probably induced by non-specific helper factors from MP-activated T cells. It is possible that in vivo MP also may have a direct activating effect on B cells

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central

Suggested articles


  1. (1977). Activation of human lymphocyte subpopulations by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
  2. (1980). al: PPD-induced viral antibody production in human blood lymphocytes. Clin Exp Immunol 42:364-369,
  3. (1971). Antibody responses in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in relation to serum immunoglobulins, especially IgM.
  4. (1976). Gronowicz E: Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a polyclonal B-cell activator.
  5. (1979). Regulation of human B cell activation. Immunol Rev 45:275-305,
  6. (1983). Specific and non-specific B cell activation in measles and varicella. Clin Exp Immunol 51:165-172,
  7. (1978). Streilein JW: Hypothesis: nonspecific polyclonal activation of memory B cells by antigen as a mechanism for the preservation of long term immunologic anamnesis. Cell Immunol 41:406-413,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.