Plasma cells are derived from B-lymphocytes and produce large quantities of antibodies. They are abundant wherever antigens may enter the body, such as the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory system. In the periphery, plasma cells have a short life span of only 3 to 15 days.
However, some immature plasma cells (plasma blasts) return to bone marrow and differentiate into plasma cells, where they receive support and nourishment in a specialized bone marrow niche. This allows a longer life span of months to years.
These plasma cells are responsible for the maintenance of long-term antibody production.
Large, round to oval cells (14 to 20 µm diameter)
Small dense, eccentric nucleus (peripherally dispersed heterochromatin with "clock-face" pattern)
Cytoplasm that is blue-grey to dark blue
Enlarged Golgi apparatus seen as a pale region adjacent to the nucleus