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Sustained Secretion of Immunoglobulin by Long-Lived Human Tonsil Plasma Cells

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jaap Van Laar


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Immunoglobulin-secreting cells comprise both short-lived proliferating plasmablasts and long-lived nonproliferating plasma cells. To determine the phenotype and functional activity of Ig-secreting cells in human lymphoid tissue, we used a tonsillar organ culture model. A significant proportion of IgA and IgG secretion was shown to be mediated by long-lived, nonproliferating plasma cells that coexpressed high levels of CD27 and CD38. The presence of such cells was further corroborated by the finding of enhanced expression in the CD19+ B-cell population of XBP-1, IRF-4, and particularly Blimp-1 genes involved in the differentiation of plasma cells. Intact tissue seemed to be necessary for optimal functional activity of plasma cells. A strong correlation was found between concentrations of interleukin-6 and IgA or IgG, but not IgM, in culture supernatants suggesting a role for interleukin-6 in the survival of long-lived plasma cells. Taken together, the present study demonstrates that human lymphoid tissue harbors a population of nonproliferating plasma cells that are dependent on an intact microenvironment for ongoing Ig secretion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): van Laar JM, Melchers M, Teng YKO, van der Zouwen B, Mohamadi R, Fischer R, Margolis L, Fitzgerald W, Grivel JC, Breedveld FC, Lipsky PE, Grammer AC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The American Journal of Pathology

Year: 2007

Volume: 171

Issue: 3

Pages: 917-927

ISSN (print): 0002-9440

ISSN (electronic): 1525-2191

Publisher: American Society for Investigative Pathology


DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.070005


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