Pathogenic and regulatory roles for B cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Autoimmunity. 2012 Aug;45(5):388-99. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2012.665523. Epub 2012 Apr 19.


A dual role of B cells in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model of the human autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), has been established. In the first role, B cells contribute to the pathogenesis of EAE through the production of anti-myelin antibodies that contribute to demyelination. On the contrary, B cells have also been shown to have protective functions in that they play an essential role in the spontaneous recovery from EAE. In this review, we summarize studies conducted in a number of species demonstrating the conditions under which B cells are pathogenic in EAE. We also discuss the phenotype and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of regulatory B cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / etiology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulins