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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012, Article ID 279206, 8 pages
Research Article

Persistence of Diarrheal Pathogens Is Associated with Continued Recruitment of Plasmablasts in the Circulation

1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Aurora Hospital, Building 5, 3rd floor, POB 348, 00029 Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland

Received 1 July 2011; Revised 27 September 2011; Accepted 8 October 2011

Academic Editor: Daniel Mucida

Copyright © 2012 Anu Kantele. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Intestinal antigen encounter leads to recirculation of antigen-specific plasmablasts via lymphatics and blood back to the intestine. Investigating these gut-originating cells in blood provides a less invasive tool for studying intestinal immune responses, with the limitation that the cells disappear from the circulation in two weeks. No data exist on situations where pathogens persist in the intestine. Patients with Salmonella, Yersinia, or Campylobacter gastroenteritis and volunteers receiving an oral typhoid vaccine were assayed for plasmablasts specific to each subject's own pathogen/antigen weekly until the response faded. In vaccinees, plasmablasts disappeared in two weeks. In gastroenteritis, the response faded 2-3 and 3–7 weeks after the last positive Salmonella or Yersinia stool culture. Even in symptomless patients, pathogens persisting in the intestine keep seeding plasmablasts into the circulation. Assaying these cells might offer a powerful tool for research into diseases in which persisting microbes have a potential pathogenetic significance.