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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 536482, 8 pages
Research Article

Flow Cytometry Assessment of In Vitro Generated CD138+ Human Plasma Cells

1Héma-Québec, Ingénierie cellulaire, Recherche et Développement, 1070 Avenue des Sciences-de-la-Vie, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 5C3
2Université Laval, Faculté des Sciences et de Génie, Département de Biochimie et Microbiologie, 1045 Avenue de la Médecine, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 0A6

Received 9 April 2013; Revised 1 October 2013; Accepted 17 October 2013; Published 9 February 2014

Academic Editor: Thomas Griffith

Copyright © 2014 Rayelle Itoua Maïga et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The in vitro CD40-CD154 interaction promotes human B lymphocytes differentiation into plasma cells. Currently, CD138 is the hallmark marker enabling the detection of human plasma cells, both in vitro and in vivo; its presence can be monitored by flow cytometry using a specific antibody. We have developed a culture system allowing for the differentiation of memory B lymphocytes. In order to detect the newly formed plasma cells, we have compared their staining using five anti-CD138 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). As a reference, we also tested human cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and bone marrow samples. The five anti-CD138 mAbs stained RPMI-8226 cells (>98%) with variable stain index (SI). The highest SI was obtained with B-A38 mAb while the lowest SI was obtained with DL-101 and 1D4 mAbs. However, the anti-CD138 mAbs were not showing equivalent CD138+ cells frequencies within the generated plasma cells. B-A38, B-B4, and MI-15 were similar (15–25%) while DL-101 mAb stained a higher proportion of CD138-positive cells (38–42%). DL-101 and B-A38 mAbs stained similar populations in bone marrow samples but differed in their capacity to bind to and cell lines. In conclusion, such cellular fluctuations suggest heterogeneity in human plasma cell populations and/or in CD138 molecules.