In addition to these roles in adaptive immunity, B cells are also important players in innate immunity primarily through signaling via TLRs, a family of receptors that can recognize DAMPs and PAMPs. understanding of disease pathogenesis and, most importantly, in improving the lives of MS patients (2C4). With the subsequent approval of ocrelizumab for RMS and PPMS by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2017, representing the first and only agent ever approved for PPMS, and decisions by other regulatory bodies pending, we now appear to be at the dawn of a new era of B cell immunology and therapeutics. However, these treatment successes also raise many unanswered questions about the fundamental role of B cells in RMS, and its contribution to sustained inflammation in the progressive phase of the disease. The first part of this review summarizes current knowledge of B cell immunology and the principles underlying use of CD20-depleting Rabbit polyclonal to HYAL2 therapies. The second part explores the possible mechanisms of action of B cell depleting brokers in MS, prospects for development of clinically useful biomarkers to monitor treatment response, and the potential role of other B cell-targeting brokers. B cells in MS: a key player in pathogenesis Historically, rodent T cell mediated acute experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) models have shaped a T cell-centric view of human MS (5). First described more than 85 years ago, EAE remains today the most commonly used and versatile model of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity in general, and, more specifically, for MS. However, EAE is not a single entity; depending upon the strain or species of animal used, the antigen administered, and even the method of inoculation and the local microbial environment, distinct EAE phenotypes characterized by different immunopathologies, topographical patterns of involvement, and clinical courses (acute or chronic, relapsing or progressive) can result. In general, however, the pure T cell mediated models of EAE lack large sharply demarcated areas of demyelination that are the hallmark of MS (6). Through the development of demyelinating disease models that more closely resemble human MS, and demonstration that this MS-like pattern of tissue damage results from a combined T cell and humoral (e.g. antibody-mediated) pathology (5,7), the experimental basis was set for the clinical trials of anti-CD20 targeted B cell therapeutics (1) leading eventually to the groundbreaking success of ocrelizumab (8). In MS, the presence of immunoglobulins (Ig) and complement deposition in the majority of acute demyelinating lesions is usually a well-recognized phenomenon (9,10). Moreover, oligoclonal bands (OCBs), which are intrathecally produced clonally expanded antibodies, have long been recognized as prognostic and diagnostic markers. OCBs are produced by CNS-infiltrating plasmablasts/plasma cells (11,12) and are clonally related to B cell clones that PFI-2 are present in the brain parenchyma, meninges, CSF, and the periphery (11,13C17). Whether a subgroup of those PFI-2 intrathecally produced antibodies is indeed pathogenic (12), or rather targeted against intracellular antigens as suggested PFI-2 by a recent study (18,19) remains unanswered (20). Nevertheless, findings from human T cell receptor (TCR) and B cell receptor (BCR) repertoire studies provide strong evidence for antigen-driven clonal expansion occurring locally in the brain, CSF and meninges (15,21C25). However, both experimental data and clinical observations, including the very rapid onset of efficacy with CD20-depleting therapies in RMS, indicate that this pathogenic role of B cells in MS is likely not restricted PFI-2 to antibody production (5,26). B cells are likely to influence MS pathology through additional effector functions including antigen presentation and roles in pro-inflammatory and regulatory immune responses (27,28). B cells represent a unique population of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), cells that can bind antigens, and then internalize, process and express antigen fragments on class II molecules of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). In the context of co-stimulatory molecules, T cells that bear T cell receptors capable of recognizing the specific antigen-MHC complex that is being presented around the B cell surface are then activated. What makes B cells unique among APCs is usually that they are highly specialized, presenting primarily only those antigens that bind to their clonal B cell receptor or Ig molecule; by contrast, other APCs, such as microglia or dendritic cells, are able to present a broad range of exogenous and endogenous antigens. In a series of elegant experiments, transgenic mice that were selectively deficient in the manifestation of MHC course II molecules just on B cells had been resistant to EAE induction, whereas the lack of secreted antibodies didn’t alter disease susceptibility (29)..