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Plasma cells

Recommended video: Loose connective tissue [10:11]
Structure and cellular components of loose connective tissue.

Plasma cells are relatively large, ovoid antibody-producing cells. These cells are derived from activated B lymphocytes. Plasma cells are prevalent in loose connective tissue, particularly in areas where antigens enter the body, such as the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. They are also a natural component of salivary glands, lymph nodes, and hematopoietic tissue. 

Plasma cells have specific characteristics that make them identifiable:

  • They are basophilic due to the extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum in their cytoplasm.
  • The golgi apparatus is visibly prominent, appearing as a clear acidophilic area in contrast to the basophilic cytoplasm under a light microscope.
  • The nucleus of the plasma cell is spherical and usually eccentrically positioned. It contains large clumps of peripheral heterochromatin interspersed with clear areas of euchromatin, giving it a characteristic cartwheel or an analog clock face appearance.

The extensive endoplasmic reticulum and well-developed Golgi apparatus of plasma cells enable them to carry out their primary function of synthesis, modification, and secretion of antibodies.

Terminology: English: plasma cell 
Latin: 
Plasmocytus
Location:
Loose connective tissue in areas prone to antigen entry 
Function:  Protection via production of antibodies 

Learn more about the plasma cells and the other cellular components of the loose connective tissue in this study unit:

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