B-cell depletion therapy for multiple sclerosis.Immunol Med. 2021 Jul 21 [Online ahead of print]IM
Since the initial observation of increased immunoglobulin concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients in the 1940s, B cells have been considered to participate in the pathology of MS through the production of autoantibodies reactive against central nervous system antigens. However, it is now recognized that B cells contribute to MS relapses via antibody-independent activities, including the presentation of antigens to T cells and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, the recent identification of B cell-rich follicle-like structures in the meninges of progressive MS patients suggests that the pathogenic roles of B cells also exist at the progressive phase of this disease. Recently, large-scale clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of B-cell depletion therapy using anti-CD20 antibodies in relapsing as well as primary progressive MS. B-cell depletion therapy has become an essential treatment option for MS based on its unique benefit to risk balance in relapsing MS, and because it is the only drug that has been shown to be effective in primary progressive MS to date.