Plasma cells (PC) localize to discrete areas of secondary lymphoid tissue and bone marrow (BM). The positioning of PC in different sites is believed to be regulated by chemokines and adhesion molecules expressed by accessory cells in the lymphoid tissue microenvironment. However, the mechanisms responsible for the positioning of PC within the red pulp (RP) of human spleen have not been elucidated. Therefore, we examined the contribution of human splenic stromal cells to the migration and function of human PC. Splenic PC expressed the chemokine receptor CXCR4 and responded to its ligand CXCL12. In contrast, PC lacked CXCR5 and CCR7, and consequently exhibited minimal migration towards CXCL13 and CCL21. Splenic stromal cells proved to be a rich source of CXCL12, and could induce the migration of human B cells. Furthermore, they supported Ig production by splenic PC mainly by secreting IL-6. Lastly, a striking difference between splenic and BM PC was the constitutive expression of CD11a by only splenic PC. Notably, splenic stromal cells expressed high levels of CD54, the counter-structure of CD11a, and splenic PC were positioned adjacent to stromal cells in the RP. Thus, we propose that stromal cells attract PC to the RP and contribute to their retention and function through the combined expression of CXCL12, CD54 and IL-6.
Ellyard, J. I., Avery, D. T., Mackay, C. R., & Tangye, S. G. (2005). Contribution of stromal cells to the migration, function and retention of plasma cells in human spleen: potential roles of CXCL12, IL-6 and CD54. European Journal of Immunology, 35(3), 699 - 708. https://doi.org/10.1002/eji.200425442