Role of the human CD38 molecule in B cell activation and proliferation

Tissue Antigens. 1997 Jan;49(1):7-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.1997.tb02703.x.


Human CD38 is a surface molecule which has been attributed the function of a signaling channel leading to cellular activation and proliferation, an ectoenzyme with multiple function as well as an inducer of Ca2+ mobilization from cytoplasmic stores. The effect mediated by CD38 have been studied in different cell populations: the results obtained in human B cells are apparently contradictory, with CD38 simultaneously leading to apoptosis in early B cells while increasing survival in cells derived from lymph node germinal center. Other effects recently reported concern a different potential in terms of signaling in early B cells and derived cell lines or in more detailed disease models of human leukemia, namely B chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. To complete the picture of the effects mediated by CD38 in the B cell compartment, we have studied the signals elicited by ligation of the human molecule in mature B cells from circulating pool and also from spleen of normal individuals. The information obtained completes the picture of CD38 and mature B cells, where we also studied the contribution of relevant cytokines involved in maintenance and differentiation of these normal cells, namely IL-1 alpha, IL-2, IL-4 and IL-6. Our results indicate that human CD38 plays a key role as a co-receptor in mature B cells from normal individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1
  • Antigens, CD*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Cell Division
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Mitogens / immunology
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / immunology*
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Cytokines
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Mitogens
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • CD38 protein, human
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1