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Curr Opin Immunol. 2008 Dec;20(6):639-45. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2008.08.003. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

Role of B cells in systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

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  • 1Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, 100 Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood, PA 19096, United States.


B cell tolerance to many self-proteins is actively maintained by either purging self-reactive B receptors through clonal deletion and receptor editing, or by functional silencing known as anergy. However, these processes are clearly incomplete as B cell driven autoimmune diseases still occur. The significance of B cells in two such diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, is highlighted by the ameliorative effects of B cell depletion. It remains to be determined, however, whether the key role of the B cell in autoimmune disease is autoantibody production or another antibody-independent function.

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