Author(s): LehmannHorn K, Kronsbein HC, Weber MS, LehmannHorn K, Kronsbein HC, Weber MS
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Recent years have substantially broadened our view on the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). While earlier concepts focused predominantly on T lymphocytes as the key cell type to mediate inflammatory damage within central nervous system (CNS) lesions, emerging evidence suggests that B lymphocytes may play a comparably important role both as precursors of antibody-secreting plasma cells and as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) for the activation of T cells. With greater appreciation of this pathogenic B-cell function in MS, B-cell-directed therapies, and in particular B-cell-depleting monoclonal antibodies targeting the CD20 molecule, have gained enormous interest over recent years. Clinical trials demonstrated that anti-CD20 treatment, which depletes immature and mature B cells but spares CD20 negative plasma cells, rapidly reduces formation of new inflammatory CNS lesions. While these findings clearly corroborate a pathogenic contribution of B cells, recent experimental but also clinical findings indicate that not all B cells contribute in an equally pathogenic manner and that certain subsets may in contrast mediate anti-inflammatory effects. In this review, we summarize current findings in support of pathogenic B-cell function in MS, including the encouraging clinical data which derived from anti-CD20 MS trials. Further, we review novel findings suggestive of regulatory properties of B-cell subsets which may be collaterally abolished by pan-CD20 depletion. In conclusion, we aim to provide an outlook on how this currently differentiating concept of pro- and anti-inflammatory B-cell function could be harnessed to further improve safety and effectiveness of B-cell-directed therapeutic approaches in MS.
This article was published in Ther Adv Neurol Disord
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology