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.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.