Megakaryocytes (MKs) give rise to platelets, which are blood cells that are essential to prevent hemorrhage. Although the majority of MKs localize to the bone marrow, there is a distinct population of lung-residing MKs (MKL). In this issue of the JCI, Pariser et al. examined gene expression patterns of MKs collected from murine and nonhuman primate bone marrow or lung. This Commentary explores the premise that environmental factors from the lung determine the genetic and phenotypic similarity of MKL to lung dendritic cells, distinguishing MKL from bone marrow MKs. Indeed, while MKL retain the ability to make platelets, they also process and present antigens that activate CD4+ lymphocytes. These data suggest that MKL may play an important role in immune processes beyond platelet production.


Eric Boilard, Kellie R. Machlus


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