B cells, produced and matured in the bone marrow, are responsible for generating antigen-specific antibodies as part of the adaptive immune response. These antibodies are selective against specific pathogens, and mark them for elimination via phagocytic or cytotoxic mechanisms by binding to them. Multiple B cell subsets exist, including plasma cells (long-lived non-proliferating antibody factories), regulatory B cells (immunosuppressive cells designed to downregulate pro-inflammatory mechanisms), and memory B cells (dormant circulating B cells primed to respond to a specific pre-encountered antigen).1
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1. C.A. Janeway Jr., et al., Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 6th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2005.