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Scand J Immunol. 1992 Dec;36(6):843-53.

Restricted expression of immunoglobulin light chain mRNA and of the adhesion molecule CD11b on circulating monoclonal B lineage cells in peripheral blood of myeloma patients.

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Department of Immunology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Circulating monoclonal B cells in peripheral blood from patients with multiple myeloma or with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) have previously been shown to express CD19, CD20, and PCA-1 and are predominantly CD45R0+, characterizing them as very late stage B cells. This work shows that the abnormal B cells are monoclonal as defined by their exclusive expression of either kappa or lambda light chain mRNA, and that the same type of light chain mRNA is expressed in both bone marrow plasma cells and blood B cells. These abnormal tumour-related circulating B cells express high densities of CD11b, a beta 2-integrin, which is expressed in a conformationally active state as defined by reactivity with monoclonal antibody 7E3. Normal peripheral blood B cells which do not bear CD11b acquire a high density after stimulation with pokeweed mitogen (PWM). At day 4 of culture, the expression of CD11b on normal CD19+ B cells was nearly comparable to that of the circulating myeloma late stage B cells. After PWM stimulation of circulating myeloma B cells the expression of CD11b was gradually lost during 4 days of culture, suggesting that its expression is dynamically regulated. Two patients with no phenotypically abnormal B cells in their blood at diagnosis acquired a large subset of CD11b+ B cells 4 weeks after initiation of chemotherapy. In most patients, a subset of the circulating myeloma B cells express a low density of CD5. The proportion of CD19+ B cells in the bone marrow expressing CD11b was much reduced compared with peripheral blood B cells, and CD11b was not detectable on plasma cells in the bone marrow, suggesting a sequential relationship of the B-cell subsets detected in our population of patients, involving gradual loss of CD11b concurrent with the loss of CD19 during B lineage differentiation. These cells appear to represent a continuously differentiating monoclonal B lineage culminating in the CD11b- plasma cell entrenched in the bone marrow. We speculate that the expression of conformationally active CD11b on the abnormal B cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of myeloma patients facilitates transendothelial migration of circulating myeloma B cells to the bone marrow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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