Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to discuss recent publications dealing with the control of autoreactive B cells, how this control is subverted in human systemic lupus erythematosus and in murine models of systemic lupus erythematosus, and how dysregulated autoreactive B cells may then contribute to disease expression through both regulatory and effector mechanisms.
Recent findings: Autoreactive B cells are abundant in the mature peripheral B-cell repertoire and need to be censored to avoid autoimmunity. This censoring is accomplished in diverse ways and may be broken down by multiple mechanisms both intrinsic and extrinsic to the B cells.
Summary: The work reviewed here paints a suggestive picture while confirming the pathogenic potential of autoreactive B cells and pointing to specific defects that warrant further exploration and could represent future therapeutic targets for this autoimmune disease.
Copyright 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins