In healthy individuals, the pool of peripheral lymphocytes is constant in size. The control of lymphoid homeostasis is the result of a very fine balance between lymphocyte production, survival and proliferation. Survival factors have been shown to play a critical role in maintaining the correct size of lymphocyte populations. Midkine, a heparin-binding cytokine was recently shown to be involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis in various cell types including normal and malignant B cells. This review focuses on the role of midkine in the regulation of peripheral B cell survival in health and disease.
This article is part of a themed section on Midkine. To view the other articles in this section visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.2014.171.issue-4