Antigen Type and Memory

Thymus-independent antigens

  • Antigens lacking a peptide component (eg, lipopolysaccharides from gram ⊝ bacteria); cannot be presented by MHC to T cells. Weakly immunogenic; vaccines often require boosters and adjuvants (eg, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine).

Thymus-dependent antigens

  • Antigens containing a protein component (eg, diphtheria vaccine). Class switching and immunologic memory occur as a result of direct contact of B cells with Th cells.

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