Induction of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue is an early life adaptation for promoting human B cell immunity.

Publication date: Jul 17, 2023

Infants and young children are more susceptible to common respiratory pathogens than adults but can fare better against novel pathogens like severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The mechanisms by which infants and young children mount effective immune responses to respiratory pathogens are unknown. Through investigation of lungs and lung-associated lymph nodes from infant and pediatric organ donors aged 0-13 years, we show that bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT), containing B cell follicles, CD4 T cells and functionally active germinal centers, develop during infancy. BALT structures are prevalent around lung airways during the first 3 years of life, and their numbers decline through childhood coincident with the accumulation of memory T cells. Single-cell profiling and repertoire analysis reveals that early life lung B cells undergo differentiation, somatic hypermutation and immunoglobulin class switching and exhibit a more activated profile than lymph node B cells. Moreover, B cells in the lung and lung-associated lymph nodes generate biased antibody responses to multiple respiratory pathogens compared to circulating antibodies, which are mostly specific for vaccine antigens in the early years of life. Together, our findings provide evidence for BALT as an early life adaptation for mobilizing localized immune protection to the diverse respiratory challenges during this formative life stage.

Concepts Keywords
Antibodies Adaptation
Cd4 Associated
Class Balt
Coronavirus Bronchus
Lymphoid Early


Type Source Name
disease IDO cell
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
disease VO Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
disease VO effective
disease VO organ
disease VO vaccine

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