Megakaryocytes constitute a functional component of a plasma cell niche in the bone marrow

Oliver Winter, Katrin Moser, Elodie Mohr, Dimitra Zotos, Henriette Kaminski, Martin Szyska, Katrin Roth, David M. Wong, Christof Dame, David M. Tarlinton, Harald Schulze, Ian C.M. MacLennan, Rudolf A. Manz

140 Citations (Scopus)


Long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow produce memory antibodies that provide immune protection persisting for decades after infection or vaccination but can also contribute to autoimmune and allergic diseases. However, the composition of the microenvironmental niches that are important for the generation and maintenance of these cells is only poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that, within the bone marrow, plasma cells interact with the platelet precursors (megakaryocytes), which produce the prominent plasma cell survival factors APRIL (a proliferation-inducing ligand) and IL-6 (interleukin-6). Accordingly, reduced numbers of immature and mature plasma cells are found in the bone marrow of mice deficient for the thrombopoietin receptor (c-mpl) that show impaired megakaryopoiesis. After immunization, accumulation of antigen-specific plasma cells in the bone marrow is disturbed in these mice. Vice versa, injection of thrombopoietin allows the accumulation and persistence of a larger number of plasma cells generated in the course of a specific immune response in wild-type mice. These results demonstrate that megakaryocytes constitute an important component of the niche for long-lived plasma cells in the bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1867-1875
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 16.09.2010

Research Areas and Centers

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


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