Apical membrane protein 1-specific antibody profile and temporal changes in B-cell populations in P. vivax malaria
Plasmodium falciparum-specific antibodies tend to be short-lived, but their cognate memory B cells (MBCs) circulate in the peripheral blood of exposed subjects for several months or years after the last infection. However, the time course of antigen-specific antibodies and B-cell responses to the relatively neglected parasite Plasmodium vivax remains largely unexplored. Here, we showed that uncomplicated vivax malaria elicits short-lived antibodies but long-lived MBC responses to a major blood-stage P vivax antigen, apical membrane protein 1 (PvAMA-1), in subjects exposed to declining malaria transmission in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. We found that atypical (CD19 CD10 CD21 CD27 ) MBCs, which appear to share a common precursor with classical MBCs but are unable to differentiate into antibody-secreting cells, significantly outnumbered classical MBCs by 5:1 in the peripheral blood of adult subjects currently or recently infected with P vivax and by 3:1 in healthy residents in the same endemic communities. We concluded that malaria can drive classical MBCs to differentiate into functionally impaired MBCs not only in subjects repeatedly exposed to P falciparum, but also in subjects living in areas with low levels of P vivax transmission in the Amazon, leading to an impaired B-cell memory that may affect both naturally acquired and vaccine-induced immunity.