Antibody-secreting cells are generated in regional lymphoid tissues and traffic as plasmablasts (PBs) via lymph and blood to target sites for local immunity. We used multiparameter flow cytometry to define PB trafficking programs (TPs, combinations of adhesion molecules and chemoattractant receptors) and their imprinting in patients in response to localized infection or immune insults. TPs enriched after infection or autoimmune inflammation of mucosae correlate with sites of immune response or symptoms, with different TPs imprinted during small intestinal, colon, throat, and upper respiratory immune challenge. PBs induced after intramuscular or intradermal influenza vaccination, including flu-specific antibody–secreting cells, display TPs characterized by the lack of mucosal homing receptors. PBs of healthy donors display diverse mucosa-associated TPs, consistent with homeostatic immune activity. Identification of TP signatures of PBs may facilitate noninvasive monitoring of organ-specific immune responses.


Yekyung Seong, Nicole H. Lazarus, Lusijah Sutherland, Aida Habtezion, Tzvia Abramson, Xiao-Song He, Harry B. Greenberg, Eugene C. Butcher


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