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Through the Microscope: Blood Cells - Life's Blood

Plasma cell

A plasma cell is a mature B lymphocyte that is specialized for antibody (immunoglobulin) production. Plasma cells are rarely found in the peripheral blood. They comprise from 0.2% to 2.8% of the bone marrow white cell count.

Mature plasma cells are often oval or fan shaped, measuring 8-15 µm. The nucleus is eccentric and oval in shape. The nucleus to cytoplasm ratio is typically 2:1 to 1:1. The nucleus may be bilobed or multilobed, especially in patients with lymphoid blood dyscrasias. The perinuclear zone is very distinct, appearing white in the deeply basophilic cytoplasm. Nuclear chromatin is condensed and very patchy, appearing as dark blocks on a reddish-purple background. The cytoplasm stains deep blue to gray blue, depending on the stain and the ribosomal content of the individual cell. Plasma cells are seen in multiple myeloma, plasma cell leukemia, Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, and MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of uncertain significance. The cells depicted in this image are from a patient with plasma cell leukemia.

Plasma cells