Bone marrow - nonneoplastic
Plasma cells

Author: Dragos Luca, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 7 July 2017, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Bone marrow plasma cells [title]

Page views in 2017: 1,794
Page views in 2018 to date: 5,394
Cite this page: Plasma cells. website. Accessed December 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Usually less than 1% of marrow cells; rare in infants
  • Often perivascular and in particle crush specimens
  • Indeterminate lifespan ranging from days to months
  • Produces and secretes antibodies
  • Plasmablast: precursor to plasma cell, produces more antibodies than B cells but less than mature plasma cells
  • Plasma cells: the last stage of B cell maturation, express CD38 but lose CD19
  • Differentiation of mature B cells into plasma cells is dependent upon the transcription factors Blimp1 / PRDM1 and IRF4
  • Unlike their precursors, plasma cells cannot act as antigen presenting cells because they no longer display MHC II; they do not take up antigen because they no longer display significant quantities of immunoglobulin on the cell surface
  • Plasma cells they cannot switch antibody classes and can only produce a single kind of antibody in a single class of immunoglobulin
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Ovoid cells with abundant deep blue cytoplasm and perinuclear hof, eccentric nucleus with coarse chromatin and clock face (art wheel) pattern
  • May have occasional binucleated cells; no nucleoli
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Plasma cells

Perivascular plasma cells

Plasma cells in myeloma

Positive stains
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Prominent Golgi zone and rough endoplasmic reticulum
Electron microscopy images

Images hosted on other servers:

Plasma cell without labels

Plasma cell with labels