SARS-CoV-2 infection induces long-lived bone marrow plasma cells in humans

submited by
Style Pass
2021-05-25 02:00:05

This is an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. Nature Research are providing this early version of the manuscript as a service to our authors and readers. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting and a proof review before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers apply.

Long-lived bone marrow plasma cells (BMPCs) are a persistent and essential source of protective antibodies1–7. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) convalescent individuals have a significantly lower risk of reinfection8–10. Nonetheless, it has been reported that anti-SARS-CoV-2 serum antibodies experience rapid decay in the first few months after infection, raising concerns that long-lived BMPCs may not be generated and humoral immunity against this virus may be short-lived11–13. Here we demonstrate that in patients who experienced mild infections (n=77), serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) antibodies decline rapidly in the first 4 months after infection and then more gradually over the following 7 months, remaining detectable at least 11 months after infection. Anti-S antibody titers correlated with the frequency of S-specific BMPCs obtained from bone marrow aspirates of 18 SARS-CoV-2 convalescent patients 7 to 8 months after infection. S-specific BMPCs were not detected in aspirates from 11 healthy subjects with no history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We demonstrate that S-binding BMPCs are quiescent, indicating that they are part of a long-lived compartment. Consistently, circulating resting memory B cells directed against the S protein were detected in the convalescent individuals. Overall, we show that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a robust antigen-specific, long-lived humoral immune response in humans.

Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA

Leave a Comment