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Immunol Rev. 2008 Jun;223:284-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00646.x.

B-lymphocyte contributions to human autoimmune disease.

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1
Department of Immunology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Abstract

Autoimmunity results from abnormal B- and T-cell recognition of self-antigens, which leads to autoantibody production in many cases. Autoantibodies produced by B-cell-derived plasma cells provide diagnostic markers for autoimmunity but also contribute significantly to disease pathogenesis. As discussed in this review, the therapeutic benefit of depleting B cells in mice and humans has refocused attention on B cells and their role in autoimmunity beyond autoantibody production. B cells specifically serve as cellular adjuvants for CD4(+) T-cell activation, while regulatory B cells, including those that produce interleukin-10 (B10 cells), function as negative regulators of inflammatory immune responses. The emerging picture is that B cells, autoantibodies, and T cells are all important components of abnormal immune responses that lead to tissue pathology unique to each autoimmune disease, with their relative contributions changing during disease progression. Autoimmune diseases where B-cell functions are closely correlated with disease activity include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Understanding the overlapping roles of B cells as mediators of autoimmune disease will facilitate the development of more precisely directed therapies and combination therapies with broader clinical efficacy than current depletion strategies that remove all B cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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