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Am J Cancer Res. 2014 Dec 15;5(1):386-95. eCollection 2015.

Myelomatous plasma cells display an aberrant gene expression pattern similar to that observed in normal memory B cells.

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Department of Hematology, University Hospital Virgen del Rocío, Institute of Biomedicine of Seville (IBIS), CSIC, Universidad de Sevilla Seville, Spain.


Memory B cells (MBCs) remain in a quiescent state for years, expressing pro-survival and anti-apoptotic factors while repressing cell proliferation and activation genes. During their differentiation into plasma cells (PCs), their expression pattern is reversed, with a higher expression of genes related to cell proliferation and activation, and a lower expression of pro-survival genes. To determine whether myelomatous PCs (mPCs) share characteristics with normal PCs and MBCs and to identify genes involved in the pathophysiology of multiple myeloma (MM), we compared gene expression patterns in these three cell sub-types. We observed that mPCs had features intermediate between those of MBCs and normal PCs, and identified 3455 genes differentially expressed in mPCs relative to normal PCs but with a similar expression pattern to that in MBCs. Most of these genes are involved in cell death and survival, cell growth and proliferation and protein synthesis. According to our findings, mPCs have a gene expression pattern closer to a MBC than a PC with a high expression of genes involved in cell survival. These genes should be physiologically inactivated in the transit from MBC to PC, but remain overexpressed in mPCs and thus may play a role in the pathophysiology of the disease.


Gene expression; cell survival; memory B cells; multiple myeloma; plasma cells


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