The impairment of humoral immune response in elderly humans has been extensively demonstrated. We have reported the increase of memory B cells (IgG+IgD−CD27−, double negative, DN) population in the elderly, in which there is also a typical inflammatory micro-environment. In order to evaluate whether this pro-inflammatory status could influence the trafficking phenotype of naïve/memory B cells, we have assessed the expression of CCR7, CCR6, CXCR3, CXCR4, CXCR5 and CD62L on naïve/memory B cell subpopulations in young and elderly subjects. Moreover, the combination of pro-inflammatory interleukin-21 (IL-21) and B cell receptor (BCR) stimulation enables B cells to produce and secrete granzyme B (GrB), which plays a critical role in early anti-viral immune responses, in the regulation of autoimmune mechanisms and in cancer immunosurveillance.
Our data demonstrate that in the elderly, naïve/memory B cell populations present a different expression of the studied receptors that could be discussed in terms of “inflamm-aging”. In particular IgG+IgD−CD27− DN B cells show a tissue trafficking phenotype and they can be stimulated to produce GrB.