CD38 low IgG-secreting cells are precursors of various CD38 high-expressing plasma cell populations

Sergio Arce, Elke Luger, Gwendolin Muehlinghaus, Giuliana Cassese, Anja Hauser, Alexander Horst, Katja Lehnert, Marcus Odendahl, Dirk Hönemann, Karl Dieter Heller, Harald Kleinschmidt, Claudia Berek, Thomas Dörner, Veit Krenn, Falk Hiepe, Ralf Bargou, Andreas Radbruch, Rudolf A. Manz*

*Corresponding author for this work
60 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the important role immunoglobulin G (IgG)-secreting plasma cells play in memory immune responses, the differentiation and homeostasis of these cells are not completely understood. Here, we studied the differentiation of human IgG-secreting cells ex vivo and in vitro, identifying these cells by the cellular affinity matrix technology. Several subpopulations of IgG-secreting cells were identified among the cells isolated from tonsils and bone marrow, particularly differing in the expression levels of CD9, CD19, and CD38. CD38 low IgG-secreting cells were present exclusively in the tonsils. A major fraction of these cells appeared to be early plasma cell precursors, as upon activation of B cells in vitro, IgG secretion preceded up-regulation of CD38, and on tonsillar sections, IgG-containing, CD38 low cells with a plasmacytoid phenotype were found in follicles, where plasma cell differentiation starts. A unitary phenotype of migratory peripheral blood IgG-secreting cells suggests that all bone marrow plasma cell populations share a common precursor cell. These data are compatible with a multistep model for plasma cell differentiation and imply that a common CD38 low IgG-secreting precursor gives rise to a diverse plasma cell compartment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1022-1028
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 06.2004

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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