We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Plasma Cells?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated Feb 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies. As such, they are an important part of the immune system. They are formed from B cells produced in a person's bone marrow. Once produced, B cells mainly stay within the marrow and wait until an antigen appears in the body. Antigens bind to the cell and stimulate it to form plasma cells. These cells then produces antibodies to destroy the pathogen.

There are five types of white blood cells in the body: nuetrophils, eosinophil, basophil, lymphocytes, and monocytes. Lymphocytes are divided into three types of cells: T cells, natural killer cells, and B cells. T cells migrate to the thymus where they wait until called for. Natural killer cells are those that destroy damaged cells that could grow out of control. All three types of lymphocytes exist to help the body defend itself against disease.

Plasma cells are just one method the body uses to fight diseases. Each produces a particular antibody to neutralize a particular antigen. When an antigen enters the body, it must first bind to a B cell, which then proliferates to form plasma cells. Those cells then secrete antibodies that inactivate the pathogen and mark it for destruction. Normally, a cell will produce antibodies for four to five days and will then die.

When a new antigen enters the body, some time is needed until the body can develop antibodies to fight it. Naive B-cells will first have to be activated in order to be able to respond to a specific disease causing agent. The antigen itself does this while it is flowing through the body. When it encounters a naive B cell, it will bind to it and help trigger clonal selection. Clonal selection is the process by which activated B cells multiply in order to form several clones of itself.

Some of these clones become plasma cells, which are then able to produce antibodies against the disease causing agent. Some clone cells, however, become memory cells and can last in the body for years. Their purpose is to provide a quick response to the antigen should it appear in the body in the future. This way, it will not take the body as long to fight the same disease.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon306894 — On Dec 02, 2012

It is true that there are six types of white blood cells? basophils; eosinophils; neutrophils; monocytes; lymphocytes; plasma cells?

By anon299054 — On Oct 23, 2012

Are you familiar with Osteoschlertic myeloma (poems syndrome)? This is also a cancer of the Plasma cells, but I believe it is different than Multiple Myeloma. I want to know how it is different.

By anon248708 — On Feb 18, 2012

Would anyone know where I can find an illustrated diagram of a plasma cell? Possibly one taken by a transmission electron microscope also? It would be very helpful for my project!

By anon123163 — On Oct 31, 2010

what is the structure and function of plasma cells? also what do they look like?

By anon119117 — On Oct 16, 2010

I am sophomore nursing student at TCU, and here I am and using this website on regular I mean daily basis. Great job all you commentators and web people! keep up with the awesome work!

By wesley91 — On Jul 27, 2010

@momothree: The diagnosis is made by measuring amounts of different antibodies in the blood and urine. It is usually necessary to have a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

So far, for the year 2010, there have been 20,180 new cases of plasma cell myeloma. Out of those, there were 10,650 deaths.

Despite the advances in therapy, plasma cell myeloma remains incurable. Patients with this myeloma are often given corticosteroids, such as prednisone. There are new drugs being tested that show great promise. Chemotherapy slows the progression of plasma cell myeloma by killing abnormal plasma cells.

By momothree — On Jul 27, 2010

@wesley91: How is multiple myeloma (plasma cell myeloma) diagnosed? Also, what is the usual multiple myeloma prognosis?

By wesley91 — On Jul 27, 2010

@gardenturtle: There is a condition called plasma cell myeloma (also known as multiple myeloma, Kahler disease, and myelomatosis). It is a type of cancer that begins in the plasma cells. It occurs when abnormal plasma cells multiply uncontrollably in the bone marrow.

People with this condition often have bone pain and even fractures. They may also have kidney problems, weakness and confusion.

By GardenTurtle — On Jul 27, 2010

Isn't there some type of cancer that effects plasma cells?

By anon50414 — On Oct 28, 2009

This is a very useful site. I like it very much. It's very easy for learning. I can understand every topic very easily. I'm a physiologist student and this is very helpful for me. from shahab tariq; country: pakistan

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.