Targeting B Cells and Plasma Cells in Autoimmune Diseases

Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 23;9:835. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00835. eCollection 2018.


Success with B cell depletion using rituximab has proven the concept that B lineage cells represent a valid target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, and has promoted the development of other B cell targeting agents. Present data confirm that B cell depletion is beneficial in various autoimmune disorders and also show that it can worsen the disease course in some patients. These findings suggest that B lineage cells not only produce pathogenic autoantibodies, but also significantly contribute to the regulation of inflammation. In this review, we will discuss the multiple pro- and anti-inflammatory roles of B lineage cells play in autoimmune diseases, in the context of recent findings using B lineage targeting therapies.

Keywords: B cells; IL-10+ B cell; autoantibodies; autoimmune disease; bortezomib; rheumatoid arthritis; rituximab.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Bortezomib / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Mice
  • Plasma Cells / drug effects
  • Plasma Cells / immunology*
  • Rituximab / administration & dosage


  • Autoantibodies
  • Rituximab
  • Bortezomib