Bone Marrow: The Bursa Equivalent in Man?

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Science  28 Jan 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4020, pp. 446-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4020.446


Human bone marrow lymphoid cells, particularly when enriched with plasma cells, as in multiple myeloma, respond to pokeweed mitogen and to antiserum to immunoglobulin but not to phytohemagglutinin. Cells of patients with X-linked agammaglobulinemia of the bursal deficient type failed to respond to either pokeweed or to the antiserum to immunoglobulin. Leukocytes of the agammaglobulinemia patients however responded in a normal fashion to phytohemagglutinin. Just as the in vitro response to phytohemagglutinin is taken as an index of the thymus-dependent system, the in vitro response to both antiserum to immunoglobulin and pokeweed may be considered an index for the bursaldependent system. Human bone marrow, therefore, contains bursal cells and probably very few or no thymus cells.