Sustained secretion of immunoglobulin by long-lived human tonsil plasma cells

Jacob M. Van Laar, Marc Melchers, Y. K.Onno Teng, Boris Van Der Zouwen, Rozbeh Mohammadi, Randy Fischer, Leonid Margolis, Wendy Fitzgerald, Jean Charles Grivel, Ferdinand C. Breedveld, Peter E. Lipsky, Amrie C. Grammer

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21 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-927
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

Van Laar, J. M., Melchers, M., Teng, Y. K. O., Van Der Zouwen, B., Mohammadi, R., Fischer, R., Margolis, L., Fitzgerald, W., Grivel, J. C., Breedveld, F. C., Lipsky, P. E., & Grammer, A. C. (2007). Sustained secretion of immunoglobulin by long-lived human tonsil plasma cells. American Journal of Pathology, 171(3), 917-927.