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Ann Neurol. 2006 Jun;59(6):880-92.

B lineage cells in the inflammatory central nervous system environment: migration, maintenance, local antibody production, and therapeutic modulation.

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Department of Neuroimmunology, Max-Planck-Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Munich, Germany.


B cells have long played an enigmatic role in the scenario of multiple sclerosis pathogenesis. This review summarizes recent progress in our understanding of B-cell trafficking, survival, and differentiation in the central nervous system (CNS). We propose four possible routes of intrathecal immunoglobulin-producing cells. The inflammatory CNS provides a unique, B-cell-friendly environment, in which B lineage cells, notably long-lived plasma cells, can survive for many years, perhaps even for a lifetime. These new findings offer a plausible explanation for the notorious persistence and stability of cerebrospinal fluid oligoclonal bands. Furthermore, we highlight similarities and differences of intrathecal immunoglobulin production in multiple sclerosis patients and patients with other CNS inflammatory conditions. Finally, we outline the possibly double-edged effects of B cells and immunoglobulin in the CNS and discuss various therapeutic strategies for targeting the B-cell response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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