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The Role of B Cells in Multiple Sclerosis: Implications for B-Cell-Targeted Therapy

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Although most studies have emphasized the role of T cells in the pathogenesis of MS, increasing evidence supports the concept that B cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of MS, mainly in association with the deposition of antibodies and the activation of complement. Emerging pathophysiological findings of B-cell, follicle-like structures in the meninges of patients and observations of decreased interleukin (IL)-10 production from naive B cells in MS have recently been reported. As more knowledge is gained of the pathophysiology of B cells in MS, the mechanisms of B-cell-mediated neuropharmacology of current therapy had been clarified as well. In this article, we review the increasing evidence that points to a link between B cells and MS, and also discuss the potential of B-cell-targeted therapy in MS.
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Keywords: Autoantibody; B cells; Complement activation; Multiple sclerosis; Rituximab

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Neurology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Kita-15, Nishi-7, Kitaku, Sapporo 060-8638 Japan.

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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