CD38 is a glycoprotein with a molecular weight of approximately 45 kDa widely expressed on the surface of various immune cells, including B cells, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. It is also found on non-immune cells, such as certain epithelial and endothelial cells. It functions as a receptor, an adhesion molecule, and an enzyme with NADase (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide glycohydrolase) activity. CD38 is also a marker for regulatory T cells and plays a role in calcium signaling.
In addition to its role in immune cell activation and proliferation, CD38 is associated with several diseases. It is overexpressed in some hematological malignancies, including multiple myeloma and certain types of leukemia. In these contexts, CD38 can serve as a therapeutic target.
Antibodies targeting CD38, such as daratumumab and isatuximab, have been developed to treat multiple myeloma. These antibodies can induce cell death in CD38-expressing myeloma cells and have shown efficacy in clinical trials. Additionally, CD38 expression is often assessed in the diagnosis and prognosis of certain diseases, especially in hematological malignancies. Immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry using CD38 antibodies are common methods for detecting and quantifying CD38 expression on the cell surface. Furthermore, CD38 antibodies are used in basic research to study the function and regulation of CD38 in immune cells. They can be employed in experiments investigating immune cell activation, calcium signaling, and other processes involving CD38.
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