Plasma cells: You are what you eat

Lucas D'Souza, Deepta Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Plasma cells are terminally differentiated B lymphocytes that constitutively secrete antibodies. These antibodies can provide protection against pathogens, and their quantity and quality are the best clinical correlates of vaccine efficacy. As such, plasma cell lifespan is the primary determinant of the duration of humoral immunity. Yet dysregulation of plasma cell function can cause autoimmunity or multiple myeloma. The longevity of plasma cells is primarily dictated by nutrient uptake and non-transcriptionally regulated metabolic pathways. We have previously shown a positive effect of glucose uptake and catabolism on plasma cell longevity and function. In this review, we discuss these findings with an emphasis on nutrient uptake and its effects on respiratory capacity, lifespan, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and antibody secretion in plasma cells. We further discuss how some of these pathways may be dysregulated in multiple myeloma, potentially providing new therapeutic targets. Finally, we speculate on the connection between plasma cell intrinsic metabolism and systemic changes in nutrient availability and metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalImmunological Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • glucose
  • glutamine
  • metabolism
  • multiple myeloma
  • plasma cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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