Memory B and T cells

Ellen S. Vitetta, Michael T. Berton, Christa Burger, Michael Kepron, William T. Lee, Xiao Ming Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

168 Scopus citations


Three remarkable and unique features of the immune system are specificity, diversity, and memory. Immunological memory involves both T and B cells and results in a secondary antibody response that is faster, of higher affinity, and results in the secretion of non-IgM isotypes of Ig. In this review we discuss the properties of memory T and B cells, their specific receptors, and the events which occur both in the nucleus and on the cell surface during generation and activation of these cells. Although memory T and B cells use different mechanisms to elaborate memory, there are a number of interesting analogies: lymphokines vs antibodies and affinity maturation of B cell antigen receptors vs upregulation of adhesion molecules on T cells. Finally, we discuss the importance of these cells in health and disease and suggest what impact additional information about these cells might have on the manipulation of the immune response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-217
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991



  • Activation
  • Antibody response
  • Isotypes switching
  • Lymphocytes
  • Lymphokines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

Vitetta, E. S., Berton, M. T., Burger, C., Kepron, M., Lee, W. T., & Yin, X. M. (1991). Memory B and T cells. Annual Review of Immunology, 9(1), 193-217.