BACKGROUND Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) is highly active in physiological stem cells as well as in tumor-initiating cells of some malignancies including multiple myeloma (MM). Finding higher activity of ALDH in some cell subsets in monoclonal gammopathies (MG) could identify potential source of myeloma-initiating cells (MICs). METHODS Bone marrow of 12 MM, 9 monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and 10 healthy donors (HD) were analyzed by flow cytometry. ALDH activity of B-cells and plasma cells (PC) was analyzed using Aldefluor. RESULTS Similar changes of ALDH activity were found during B-cell development in HD and MG. Decreasing of ALDH activity from immature to naïve B-cells was found. In postgerminal stages, the activity started to increase, and in PCs, the ALDH activity was the same as in immature B-cells. Increased ALDH activity of all PC subsets compared to naïve B-cells was found in MM as well as in HD, while in MGUS, only CD19- PCs have higher ALDH activity. In HD, ALDH activity was higher in CD19+ PCs compared with MG. CONCLUSIONS Our results indicate that changes of ALDH activity are the natural phenomenon in B-cell development; thus, high ALDH activity as a single marker is not appropriate for MICs identification.