Talk:B cell

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Quote: "abbreviated "B" for the bursa of Fabricius, an organ uniqe to birds where B cells mature; the "B" does not stand for bone marrow, where they are created in all other vertebrates"

This is true to the history, but isn't there a will to redefine this, so that they can say "B is for bbone marrow" out in the schools? That it wasn't named after the bone marrow, does that have any significance? If people today say "B is for bone marrow" then thats is, right? The Immune system article does this, which I approve. —Sverdrup(talk) 21:48, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)


"B" DOES NOT stand for "Bone marrow". ALL blood cells originate from pluripotent stem cells in the bone marrow, including: erythrocytes (red blood cells), thrombocytes (platelets), granulocytes (basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, and mast cells), monocytes (monocytes and macrophages) and lymphocytes (T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells). Thus it is entirely and utterly incorrect to assign the "B" in B-cells to "Bone marrow". Sverdup, you are misguided and should read up on your histopathology before making wrongheaded suggestions. I will now go and look at the "Immune system" article to see that it does not repeat your error.


What a wonderful idea Wikepedia is! I never knew it existed. I am tempted to dump a whole lot of really useful stuff about B cells onto this page but I'm not sure how to go about it correctly. Oh well, when I get time .... Like (just for openers):

It is important to know that each and every B-cell (and there are many millions in the body at any one time) has a different antibody on its surface. Each B-cell is programmed to make one specific antibody. When a B cell encounters its triggering antigen (along with collaborating T-cells and accessory cells), it gives rise to many large plasma cells. Every plasma cell is essentially a factory for producing antibody. Each of the plasma cells descended from a given B-cell (which are all members of the same family, or clones) manufactures millions of identical antibody molecules and pours them into the bloodstream.

Maybe someone who can do it should add something like this in...?

B-cells are just B(ursa), and the "bone marrow" thing is just wrong. Your synopsis about covers it, but VDJ recombination, clonal selection and deletion do need to be covered. JFW | T@lk 16:01, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Your synopsis about covers it, but VDJ Recombination, Clonal Selection and Clonal Deletion do need to be covered." I think these should have their own page, Jfdwolff....perhaps with different titles... Dan 00:51, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Edit note[edit]

As an immunologist studying mammalian B cell development, I know that it is not common for us, or any immunologist that I have met, to mistake the B in B cell for meaning bone marrow.

Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. JFW | T@lk 21:56, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

I would like to raise a point about B lymphocyte development. I was under the impression that B lymphocytes required antigenic stimulation during their development. How then can the bone marrow be the 'bursa equivalent' in non-avian species. Bone marrow has no afferent lymphatics to bring antigens into contact with developing lymphocytes and in a healthy individual there should be no free antigens within the blood stream so the bone marrow cannot be the bursa equivalent. Also the lack of large aggregates of developing lymphocytes in histological sections of bone marrow that I have seen eliminates this as a major developmental sight of lymphocytes. A much more logical site for the bursa equivalent is in the nodules of lymphoid tissue within the appendix. This provides ample oppertunity for antigenic stimulation of developing B lymphocytes and unlike in bone marrow there are large populations of lymphocytes seen in histological sections. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Special:Contributions/ 9 October 2006

I agree with your comment that the B in B-cell does not stand for Bone marrow. But it a historical fact that the term B-cell was first found in avian Bursa of Fabricius and there was no need to change the term when B-cells were found in mammals. I have reverted's deletion of the paragraph which now cites a reference. See also bursa of Fabricius. Greensburger 01:20, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

The second paragraph regarding the 2nd paragraph in "The Ancestry of B-cells" should be deleted, or a second reference should be cited.

The Nature Immunology 2006 paper referenced (Li et al) DOES NOT state that mammalian B-cells are capable of/activated following antigen phagocytosis. Trout and frogs are not mammals. MALIGNANT (not normal) mammalian B-lymphocytes acquire phagocytic capability, implying a common ancestry for APCs and B lymphocytes in mammals. (talk) 23:43, 30 January 2008 (UTC)Anonymous Med Student

Section on structure[edit]

The first section on B cell formation basically just talks about antibody structure which although related, doesn't seem the right way or place in the aticle to discuss this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:05, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Secondary immune response[edit]

I was surprised to note that the very important concept of secondary response, wherein the encounters with a foreign antigen that follow the first exposure, are much more intense, does not find a mention almost in the whole of wikipedia. I'm sorry if I would have overlooked its presence, but I believe, I have searched quite well.

So, I am starting this section. Further supplementation with figures (graphs) will be greatly helpful.


Ketan Panchal, MBBS (talk) 13:57, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

B-1 cell v/s naive cell[edit]

Please do tell me if B-1 cell and the naive cells are synonymous. This is important as I'd like to expand the article further to better explain the concept of clonality and immunologic memory See Talk:B cell#Secondary immune response above.

Hoping for a prompt reply.


Ketan Panchal, MBBS (talk) 16:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Hi Ketan,
I am no expert on B cells, but here is what I understand from the literature. The B-1 cell is different to the B-2 (conventional) B cell - there has been some debate as to whether B-1 and B-2 cells stem from different or the same progenitors, and it appears the argument may favour that they arise from different lineages. In other words, the B-1 cell is NOT another name for a naive B-2 cell - it is a different B-cell that functions in innate immunity rather than adaptive immunity, and is more commonly found in the foetus or neonate than in an adult.
These reviews seem to explain current/recent knowledge pretty well if you are able to access them.
Hope this helps with your expansion of the article! Best wishes, ~ Ciar ~ (Talk to me!) 20:31, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Hi Ciar!
Thanks for your reply--it as well as the links that you provided were quite helpful and convincing. Why I suspected the similarity in the first place was because of the mention of relative low-affinity polyspecificity exhibited by the B1CR (if such a thing exists, meaning B cell receptor of B-1 cells), a character, I believe shared with the B naive cells. But, now I have adequate reasons to believe that they are quite distinct entities.
By the way, did you read my comment above about "secondary immunologic response"? What do you think?
Thanks for your best wishes.
Ketan Panchal, MBBS (talk) 07:22, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

1) I'm wondering if the opening could be improved by swapping the first two sentences: explain the basic function of the B cell in a non-jargon description first, THEN make the comparison/contrast with T-cells.

What's In a Name?[edit]

2) I'm a bit baffled by the "B for Bone" statement. The cells were named for the Bursa in poultry. Feldercarb (talk) 14:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

This is all explained in the section "Origin of the word B cell" near the bottom the B-cell article. Yes, B-cells were named after the bursa in poultry. And if mammals had been making B-cells in the liver, they would have been renamed L-cells. But when biologists discovered that mammalian B-cells were made in bone marrow, they had a choice, rename them M-cells, or just leave B-cells as B-cells. They chose the latter. This is not the only time that scientific terminology has benefitted from chance. The Celsus temperature scale used to be called the "centigrade scale" with degrees abbreviated °C. In 1948 there was an effort to memorialize Andres Celsius which gained wide acceptance partly because, by chance, Celsius's name began with the letter C. Likewise B-cell became a backronym, redefined as being made in bones. Greensburger (talk) 18:13, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I've never heard the backronym claim outside of this article. The story of the "failed" experiment, and therefore the origin of the name, was featured in the very first lecture I ever heard about B cells. Perhaps this is another sign of the decline of Western civilization?
Does anyone actually have the textbook that supposedly asserts this backronym? The tiny snippet that I can see in Google Books does not tend to support that claim. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I suppose I am trying to say politely that I disagree with the "backronym" of B for Bone. It's as if you are trying to discredit the people who originally did the work. (In the Centigrade case, no one is discredited, and there was a general renaming/rescaling of units whilst moving from cgs metric to SI metric system ~ so I feel this is a rather poor analogy.) "Neon" is no longer a "new" element, but we haven't renamed it. "Chromosome" is a rather antique term, but nobody has changed it. Feldercarb (talk) 18:18, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

I have removed the "backronym" sentence from the article. I was not implying that B-cell was formally redefined and was not trying to deprive the discoverers of B-cell the credit due them. I am simply saying that it does not matter whether people are referring to bursa B-cells or bone B-cells. B can stand for either one depending on context. Greensburger (talk) 22:15, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the rest of the assertion from the lead. It seems too trivial to mention there. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:45, 19 June 2009 (UTC)


instead of "and it is this molecule that allows the distinction of B cells from other types of lymphocyte" can I say "and it is this molecule that distinguishes B cells from other types of lymphocyte" seems a little more direct

looking at phrase "The BCR is a membrane-bound immunoglobulin,"

  • since "immunoglobulin" links (redirects) to "antibody" can we say
  • "The BCR is a membrane-bound antibody," or "The BCR is a membrane-bound immunoglobulin (antibody),"
  • why? I think most laypeople are more familar with antibody than immunoglobulin

looking at phrase "Each B cell has a unique receptor protein "

  • do we need to introduce another idea/phrase "protein" instead of just saying its a iG or antibody?

"cognate antigen"

  • it's set up as a link, but there is no linking article
  • I suppose it is a "matching" antigen
  • the diagram in the article uses "matching antigen"
  • can I say "cognate (matching) antigen"?
  • we later have the idea of "epitope" ~ I'm not sure how they relate (talk) 16:21, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

arrangement of sections

  • I'm suggesting that "function" and "activation" sections should come before the "development"
  • I think most people are interested in what a B cell is or does first, then perhaps, where it comes from
  • also the "development" section is relatively jargon-laden, might want to stash that further down the article

opening paragraph

  • I'm thinking/suggesting of listing the functions in point form
  • "The principal functions of B cells are: 1)to make antibodies against antigens, 2) perform the role of Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs) and 3) eventually develop into memory B cells after activation by antigen interaction

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:21, 14 June 2009

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top. The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:55, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Confirmation needed[edit]

There is a picture here of a lymphocyte that seems to be circulating freely in the blood stream, wich is amrked as a plasma cell. I dont know if I missed something major in the literature, but arent plasma cells stationary in lymphnodes and diffuse lymphoid tissue (ie Malt, GALT, Tonsils, spleen). B-Cells mainly migrate from the lymph node in the form of plasmablasts aswell. I find it kind of misleading showing one in free circulation after this, and wonder if I misunderstood the literature or if the image should be replaced? Gremmer (talk) 15:18, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

B-cells can be very cancerous. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:10, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Development of B-cells[edit]

"these immature B cells migrate to the spleen, where they are called transitional B cells, and some of these cells differentiate into mature B lymphocytes" This is true in murine models but in humansit is more likely that mature naive B-cells are produced in the bone marrow (Perez-Andres M, Clinical Cytometry 2010) :

1) Fully mature Naive B-cells are detected in human bone marrow (Van Lochem Clinical Cytometry 2004) 2) B-cells undego negative selection (deletion of autoreactive B-cells) between the immature and the naive compartments. 3) Aesplenic individuals have normal numbers of fully mature Naive B-cells (Wasserstrom H, JI 2008)

I would recommend to review this section —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:49, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

In the Introductory section, there is a clear distinction made between where B-cells develop in Mammals as opposed to Birds. But, the Development section talks exclusively about the maturation process in (mammalian) bone marrow. I don't know enough to know if there's any difference between what happens there and the development process in Birds. We need someone knowledgable on the subject to either add a separate discussion of the Avian process or make clear that there is no difference. --- NormDrez 24 July 2017

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B-cell activation[edit]

I have read from molecular biology text books that B-cell activation is Th2 mediated for neutralizing antibodies and Th1 mediated for complement fixing + opsonizing antibodies. If someone can provide reference to this, the paragraph "T-cell mediated activation" should be modified. Molbil (talk) 16:40, 3 October 2011 (UTC)Molbil

B cell annihilation by HIV to destroy leukemia[edit]

Just read this NY times article and was wondering if the material would be relevant for this article. For example: what would be the side effects of someone never having B cells the rest of their life, and is this potentially as bad or worse than leukemia? Ranze (talk) 22:43, 10 December 2012 (UTC)