BAFF inhibition attenuates fibrosis in scleroderma by modulating the regulatory and effector B cell balance
© JUAN GARTNER/Getty
Targeting only the B-cells in the immune system that contribute to scleroderma, and not those B-cells that serve a protective function, could help people with this rare connective tissue disorder, for which there isn’t an approved therapy.
Using a mouse model of scleroderma, a team led by scientists at Kanazawa University found that disease effects such as skin hardening and lung scarring were less prominent among animals lacking the ‘effector’ B-cells needed to produce immune-stimulating molecules. In contrast, these symptoms were exacerbated in mice without ‘regulatory’ B-cells, which quash immune responses.
The researchers found that a protein called BAFF normally drives the disease by activating effector B-cells and suppressing regulatory B-cells. A BAFF-inhibiting drug had the opposite effect in the mice: it restored a healthy B-cell balance and mitigated symptoms.
These findings suggest that a BAFF-targeted antibody therapy that is already approved for treating lupus should be studied for the treatment of scleroderma patients.
- Science Advances 4, eaas9944 (2018). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aas9944
|Kanazawa University (KU), Japan||0.75|
|Tokyo University of Science (TUS), Japan||0.08|
|University of Fukui, Japan||0.08|
|University of Tsukuba, Japan||0.08|
|Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Japan||0.00|