B lymphocyte receptors are generated randomly during the bone marrow developmental phase of B cells. Hence, the B cell repertoire consists of both self and foreign antigen specificities necessitating specific tolerance mechanisms to eliminate self-reactive B cells. This review summarizes the major mechanisms of B cell tolerance, which include clonal deletion, anergy and receptor editing. In the bone marrow presentation of antigen in membrane bound form is more effective than soluble form and the role of dendritic cells in this process is discussed. Toll like receptor derived signals affect activation of B cells by certain ligands such as nucleic acids and have been shown to play crucial roles in the development of autoimmunity in several animal models. In the periphery availability of BAFF, a B cell survival factor plays a critical role in the survival of self-reactive B cells. Antibodies against BAFF have been found to be effective therapeutic agents in lupus like autoimmune diseases. Recent developments are targeting anergy to control the growth of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
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This work is supported in part by grants from Edward P. Evans Foundation and an NIH grant to SB.
Gururajan, Murali; Sindhava, Vishal J.; and Bondada, Subbarao, "B Cell Tolerance in Health and Disease" (2014). Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics Faculty Publications. 92.