BAFF inhibition: a new class of drugs for the treatment of autoimmunity

Exp Cell Res. 2011 May 15;317(9):1270-7. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Feb 17.


BAFF (BLyS) and APRIL are TNF-like cytokines that support survival and differentiation of B cells. Recent studies have discovered a role for BAFF in augmenting both innate and adaptive immune responses as well as in collaborating with other inflammatory cytokines to promote the activation and differentiation of effector immune cells. BAFF is an important pathogenic factor in lupus mouse models and BAFF inhibition successfully delays disease onset in these mice, although the responsiveness to BAFF inhibition varies among different strains. These results have led to the development of inhibitors targeting BAFF and APRIL in humans. An anti-BAFF antibody has shown significant but modest efficacy in two Phase III clinical trials for moderately active SLE and other inhibitors are being developed or at early stages of clinical testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / genetics
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / immunology
  • B-Cell Activating Factor / metabolism
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / immunology
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transcription Factors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transcription Factors / immunology


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • PDS5B protein, human
  • Transcription Factors