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.