B-cell depletion and repopulation in autoimmune diseases

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2008 Feb;34(1):50-5. doi: 10.1007/s12016-007-8015-4.


Although T-lymphocytes have long been regarded as the prime effector of autoimmune diseases, numerous studies have since highlighted a key role for B-lymphocytes. For example, disturbances in the distribution of circulating B-cell subsets were reported in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Consequently, this was the rationale to treat such patients for B-cell depletion with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (rituximab). The aim of this review is to describe and analyze the B-cell subset distribution at baseline and after rituximab therapy in patients with SLE, rheumatoid arthritis, and pSS. Finally, we will compare factors that may interfere with anti-CD20-mediated B-cell depletion in these autoimmune diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases* / physiopathology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Depletion*
  • Rituximab
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / immunology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Rituximab