The 'short' history of regulatory B cells

Trends Immunol. 2008 Jan;29(1):34-40. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2007 Dec 3.


The maintenance of tolerance is the sine qua non of a sophisticated regulatory apparatus to prevent or dampen overzealous immune responses. In addition to the ability of B cells to prime and activate the immune system, B cells with regulatory function (Bregs) have been identified in experimental models of autoimmunity, infections, and cancer, supporting the notion that, similar to regulatory T cells (Tregs), Breg-mediated suppression is an important means for the maintenance of peripheral tolerance. This regulatory function appears to be directly mediated by the production of IL-10 and/or TGFbeta and by the ability of B cells to interact with pathogenic T cells to inhibit harmful immune responses. The identification of their existence is of great relevance to the understanding of autoimmune diseases and to the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Parasitic Diseases / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Interleukin-10