How a New Treatment Involving B Cells May Help with Autoimmune Disorders

The immune system prevents the production of antibodies that attack and damage the body’s healthy tissues. Autoimmune diseases impair this process. Now, research teams are examining the potential of a therapy involving B cells to fight these disorders. Their findings were published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

The researchers said they discovered that depleting TLR9 stops central tolerance from occurring.

In mice, this resulted in decreased self-reactive B cells and antibodies. The researchers also reported that study participants with systemic sclerosis have decreased TLR9 activity and previous research indicated reduced activity in people with lupus.

The scientists also discovered that depleting B cells caused remission in systemic sclerosis. This autoimmune disorder damages the skin, joints, and internal organs.

Meffre said he hopes that this B-cell procedure works, that remission lasts, and that the process treats other autoimmune diseases.

“This study is elegantly conducted and offers a novel perspective on a crucial biological process: the regulation of B cell central tolerance,” said Dr. Munir Akkaya, an assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine who was not involved in the research.

Our bodies are constantly under attack by viruses and bacteria. Our immune system continuously works to stop these attacks and keep us healthy.

Sometimes, our immune system attacks healthy tissue, mistaking it for a threat to our health, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Some autoimmune diseases affect only one type of tissue. For example, vasculitis attacks only the blood vessels. Other conditions affect many different parts of the body. For example, lupus can damage the skin, heart, lungs, and organs.

The exact cause of autoimmune diseases isn’t well understood. However, researchers such as Meffre are working to understand why they occur and how to treat them.


Elif Çakan, Marie Dominique Ah Kioon, Yolanda Garcia-Carmona, Salomé Glauz, et al. TLR9 ligand sequestration by chemokine CXCL4 negatively affects central B cell tolerance. J Exp Med (2023) 220 (12): e20230944. DOI: 

Journal Of Experimental Medicine (2023). How a new treatment involving B cells may help with autoimmune disorders. MedicineNewsToday. Retrieved October 2, 2023 from

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