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Am J Transplant. 2011 Jul;11(7):1359-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03554.x. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

Targeting B cells and antibody in transplantation.

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Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 139 Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0XY, Cambridge.;


There has been increasing interest in the role played by B cells, plasma cells and their associated antibody in the immune response to an allograft, driven by the need to undertake antibody-incompatible transplantation and evidence suggesting that B cells play a role in acute cellular rejection and in acute and chronic antibody-mediated rejection. A number of immunosuppressive agents have emerged which target B cells, plasma cells and/or antibody, for example, the B cell-depleting CD20 antibody rituximab. This review describes recent developments in the use of such agents, our understanding of the role of B cells in alloimmunity and the application of this knowledge toward novel therapies in transplantation. It also considers the evidence to date suggesting that B cells may act as regulators of an alloimmune response. Thus, future attempts to target B cells will need to address the problem of how to inhibit effector B cells, while enhancing those with regulatory capacity.

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