Do self-perpetuating B lymphocytes drive human autoimmune disease?

Immunology. 1999 Jun;97(2):188-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.1999.00772.x.


Normal immunological memory is thought to be underpinned by T lymphocytes. However, in rheumatoid arthritis there are indications that T-lymphocyte control has been subverted by self-perpetuating B lymphocytes. Potential mechanisms in other autoimmune states are less clear, but a number of observations suggest that misappropriation of immunological memory by B lymphocytes may be a common feature of human autoantibody-associated disease. Put simply, autoantibodies drive their own production. If so, the availability of safe B-lymphocyte-depleting agents provides a potential means for reversal of autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Autoantibodies / biosynthesis
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Rheumatoid Factor / immunology


  • Autoantibodies
  • Rheumatoid Factor