It is increasingly recognized that B cells have multiple functions that contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. Specific targeting of B cells might therefore be an appropriate therapeutic intervention. The tumor necrosis factor-like molecule BAFF (BLyS) is a key B cell survival factor and its receptors are expressed on most peripheral B cells. Several different BAFF antagonists are under development and in early clinical trials. We review here the rationale for BAFF blockade, and its predicted mechanism of action in autoimmune diseases.
Keywords: autoimmune diseases, B cells, BAFF (BLyS), co-stimulation, therapy