Researchers have identified a new cell residing in bone marrow that provides an essential survival factor for antibody-producing B cells reports a study published online in Nature Immunology.
Bone marrow is an essential tissue at the site of all blood cell development; however, different sites within the marrow appear to support development or survival of specific types of blood cells. Steffen Jung and colleagues identified nurturing cells, called bone marrow-resident dendritic cells, or bmDCs, that reside in clusters that surround blood vessels in the marrow. Mature B cells return from the bloodstream and take up residence nestled close to the bmDCs. The bmDCs produce a factor called macrophage migration-inhibiting factor that the authors show is absolutely required for the B cell survival. Loss of the bmDCs led to simultaneous loss of the bone marrow B cells.
The new findings may lead to further research that has implications for B cell malignancies such as multiple myeloma, in which the tumor cells hijack the bone marrow, although further research into this area is required.
Steffen Jung (Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Immunology press release.
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