Understanding the role of B cells in atherosclerosis: potential clinical implications

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2014 Jan;10(1):77-89. doi: 10.1586/1744666X.2014.857602. Epub 2013 Dec 2.


Atherosclerosis is a progressive inflammatory disease of the medium to large arteries that is the largest contributor to cardiovascular disease. B-cell subsets have been shown in animal models of atherosclerosis to have both atherogenic and atheroprotective properties. In this review, we highlight the research that developed our understanding of the role of B cells in atherosclerosis both in humans and mice. From this we discuss the potential clinical impact B cells could have both as diagnostic biomarkers and as targets for immunotherapy. Finally, we recognize the inherent difficulty in translating findings from animal models into humans given the differences in both cardiovascular disease and the immune system between mice and humans, making the case for greater efforts at addressing the role of B cells in human atherosclerosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis* / immunology
  • Atherosclerosis* / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis* / therapy
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets* / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets* / pathology
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Mice


  • Biomarkers