Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by accumulation of pathological plasma cells (PCs) in bone marrow (BM) as a result of deregulation of B-cell development. To clarify its pathophysiology it is necessary to investigate in detail the developmental stages of B-cells.
Materials and methods: Enumeration of total CD19-positive (CD19(+)) cells and their subpopulations together with PCs was done in peripheral blood (PB) and BM of newly diagnosed monoclonal gammopathy patients and control subjects. Representation of subsets was compared among groups and relationships between subset percentage and cytogenetic/biochemical findings were analyzed.
Results: A lower number of total CD19(+) cells was found in MM, particularly in advanced stages of disease. Reduction of naive (P < .01) and transitional B-cells (P < .05) and increase of switched memory and switched CD27(-) B-cells and germinal center founder cells were detected in PB of MM compared with controls (P < .01). Similar results were found in BM. β2 microglobulin level in MM positively correlated with the number of PCs and negatively with percentage of naive B-cells (P < .05).
Conclusion: Our results provided a detailed phenotypic profile and enumeration of B and PC subpopulations in monoclonal gammopathy patients. A reduced number of B-cells and particularly a differentiation shift to more numerous antigen-stimulated forms was observed in MM. This might indicate a potential source of myeloma-initiating cells in one of these subpopulations.
Keywords: B-cell; Flow Cytometry; Monoclonal Gammopathy; Multiple Myeloma; Plasma Cell.
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