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Clone (B-cell biology)

The process of immunological B-cell maturation involves transformation from an undifferentiated B-cell to one that secretes antibodies with particular specificity[1]. This differentiation and activation of the B-cell occurs most rapidly after exposure to antigen by antigen-presenting cells in the reticuloendothelial system, and under modulation by T-cells, and is closely intertwined with affinity maturation. B-cells that respond most avidly to antigen are preferentially allowed to proliferate and mature, a process known as clonal selection.

Under normal circumstances, immune B-cells are said to be "polyclonal," in the sense that the organism contains diverse populations of B-cells. These diverse B-cell populations are normally activated by a broad variety of antigens, therefore producing a broad spectrum of antibodies.

In lymphocyte neoplastic diseases such as multiple myeloma and lymphoma, but also other illnesses, there can be a massive expansion of a single B-cell clone, detectable by measuring the excessively-produced antibodies, measured in a serum protein electrophoresis test or peripheral blood flow cytometry. Such an expansion is said to be "monoclonal," and monoclonal antibodies produced by such a group of B-cells can cause illnesses such as amyloidosis and lupus, or can be indicative of an underlying malignancy. The concept of clonality is closely associated with malignancy, for example in diagnosing lymphomatoid skin lesions.[2] The expansion of a particular clone of immune B-cells is usually interpreted by clinicians as evidence of unrestricted cell growth, the hallmark of cancer.

  1. ^ Nossal, G. J. V. & Lederberg, J. 1958. Antibody production by single cells. Nature 181:1419-1420
  2. ^ Knowles D, Halper J, Jakobiec F (1982). "The immunologic characterization of 40 extranodal lymphoid infiltrates: usefulness in distinguishing between benign pseudolymphoma and malignant lymphoma". Cancer 49 (11): 2321-35. PMID 6804083.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Clone_(B-cell_biology)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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