Researchers have identified a “switch” that makes vaccinations work and gives the body immunity following infections.
The team from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, found the presence of a protein called Myb was needed for antibody-producing plasma cells to migrate into the bone marrow.
Once inside the marrow, the antibodies were preserved, creating long-term immunity from a vaccination or an infection.
“Our bone marrow is like a long-term storage facility for plasma cells, allowing them to continue producing antibodies to protect against future infections,” said Dr Kim Good-Jacobson, one of the researchers.
“Until now, it was not known why some plasma cells moved into the bone marrow, while others remained in the blood stream and perished after a few days.”