Ask Difference

B Cells vs. Plasma Cells — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on November 2, 2023
B Cells are white blood cells that produce antibodies, while Plasma Cells are matured B Cells that actively secrete these antibodies.
B Cells vs. Plasma Cells — What's the Difference?

Difference Between B Cells and Plasma Cells


Key Differences

B Cells and Plasma Cells play crucial roles in the immune response. B Cells are lymphocytes originating from bone marrow and are responsible for producing antibodies. On encountering antigens, certain B Cells differentiate and become Plasma Cells. Plasma Cells, thus, are specialized derivatives of B Cells whose main function is to produce and secrete large quantities of antibodies to neutralize pathogens.
While B Cells serve as the primary defense against pathogens by recognizing them, Plasma Cells are the factories that churn out the antibodies. The presence of B Cells is vital for immune memory, ensuring the body responds faster to previously encountered pathogens. Plasma Cells, on the other hand, ensure that the response is robust by releasing antibodies in large numbers.
B Cells, when activated by an antigen, can either become Plasma Cells or memory B Cells. Plasma Cells are short-lived cells that produce large amounts of antibodies and then die off. The antibodies they produce can persist in the body, providing protection against subsequent exposures to the same antigen.
It's worth noting that while all Plasma Cells come from B Cells, not all B Cells become Plasma Cells. Some remain as memory cells, ready to respond swiftly upon re-exposure to the same antigen. In essence, while B Cells are the sentinels and memory keepers of the immune system, Plasma Cells are the warriors that produce the tools (antibodies) required to combat invaders.

Comparison Chart


Bone marrow
Differentiated from B Cells

Primary Function

Produce antibodies and remember pathogens
Actively secrete antibodies


Can be long-lived (as memory B cells)
Generally short-lived

Response to Antigens

Differentiate into Plasma Cells or memory B Cells
Already differentiated, produce antibodies


Smaller with few cytoplasmic granules
Larger with extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum

Compare with Definitions

B Cells

Antibody-producing cells upon antigen encounter.
When B Cells are activated, they can differentiate into Plasma Cells.

Plasma Cells

Cells responsible for the bulk antibody secretion in response to antigens.
When a vaccine is administered, Plasma Cells work diligently to produce the necessary antibodies.

B Cells

Sentinels of the immune system recognizing pathogens.
The body's defense against foreign invaders relies heavily on the actions of B Cells.

Plasma Cells

Matured B Cells that produce and secrete antibodies.
Plasma Cells are vital for mounting a strong immune response against pathogens.

B Cells

Immune cells that produce and secrete antibodies.
The flu vaccine stimulates B Cells to produce antibodies against the flu virus.

Plasma Cells

Cells with extensive rough endoplasmic reticulum.
The rough endoplasmic reticulum in Plasma Cells aids in antibody production.

B Cells

Lymphocytes originating from bone marrow.
B Cells play a pivotal role in adaptive immunity.

Plasma Cells

Antibody factories of the immune system.
Upon infection, Plasma Cells release vast amounts of antibodies to neutralize the threat.

B Cells

Cells responsible for immune memory.
Upon re-exposure to a pathogen, B Cells ensure a rapid immune response.

Plasma Cells

Short-lived immune cells derived from B Cells.
After their antibody-producing role, Plasma Cells undergo apoptosis.

Common Curiosities

Are all B Cells destined to become Plasma Cells?

No, only certain activated B Cells differentiate into Plasma Cells, while others might become memory B Cells.

What's the significance of Plasma Cells in immunity?

Plasma Cells are vital as they are the primary cells that secrete large quantities of antibodies to combat pathogens.

Are antibodies the only function of B Cells?

While producing antibodies is a primary function, B Cells also play roles in antigen presentation and forming memory cells.

What is the primary function of B Cells?

B Cells produce and secrete antibodies and also serve as memory cells for the immune system.

How do vaccinations involve B Cells and Plasma Cells?

Vaccines introduce antigens to stimulate B Cells, leading to the production of Plasma Cells and memory B Cells for future defense.

What happens to Plasma Cells after they've produced antibodies?

Plasma Cells are generally short-lived, and after their function, they undergo apoptosis.

How do B Cells recognize pathogens?

B Cells have receptors on their surface that can recognize and bind to specific antigens from pathogens.

Can the body produce B Cells and Plasma Cells throughout life?

Yes, the body can produce B Cells throughout life, and upon activation, they can differentiate into Plasma Cells.

How do Plasma Cells relate to B Cells?

Plasma Cells are matured B Cells that actively produce and secrete antibodies.

Do B Cells and Plasma Cells only respond to infections?

They primarily respond to infections, but they can also react to vaccines, transplants, and even allergens.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger

Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms