B cells as a therapeutic target in autoimmune diseases.
Historically, the pathogenic role of B cells in autoimmune disease has been attributed to the formation of autoantibodies which, as soluble immunoglobulins or immunocomplexes, can trigger cellular damage and initiate the inflammatory cascade. Recent results from clinical trials applying B cell-directed therapeutics in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus have challenged such traditional views and encouraged novel ideas about the disease involvement of B cells. Suppression of disease activity, often disconnected from effects on autoantibody titers, has supported the notion that B cells may promote autoimmune disease by serving as antigen-presenting cells that sustain T cell activation. Likewise, B cells have been implicated in supporting the process of ectopic lymphoid neogenesis, a mechanism that stabilises pathogenic immune responses in target tissues and thus contributes to disease chronicity. As a general rule, clinical effects of B cell-directed therapeutics have often been unanticipated and unpredicted by experimental models, emphasis-ing the need to explore and verify disease principles in the patient.
Park, YW; Pryshchep, S; Seyler, TM; Goronzy, JJ; Weyand, CM
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