Exaggerated or inappropriate responses by B cells are an important feature in many types of autoimmune neurological diseases. The recent success of B-cell depletion in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) has stimulated the development of novel B-cell-targeting therapies with the potential for improved efficacy. CD19 has emerged as a promising target for the depletion of B cells as well as CD19-positive plasmablasts and plasma cells. Inebilizumab (MEDI-551), an anti-CD19 antibody with enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity against B cells, is currently being evaluated in MS and neuromyelitis optica. This review discusses the role of B cells in autoimmune neurological disorders, summarizes the development of inebilizumab, and analyzes the recent results for inebilizumab treatment in an autoimmune encephalitis mouse model. The novel insights obtained from these preclinical studies can potentially guide future investigation of inebilizumab in patients.
Keywords: B-cell depletion; CD19; autoimmunity; multiple sclerosis; neuromyelitis optica.