Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2020

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2020;31(3):311-8
Age-Associated B Cells (ABCs) in the Prognosis, Diagnosis and Therapy of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Authors Information

1. Department of Pharmacognosy-Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

2. 4th Department of Internal Medicine, Hippokration General Hospital, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Athanasios Sachinidis 

The term “age-associated B cells” (ABCs) refers to a heterogeneous B cell subset (CD19+,CD21-,CD11c+,T-bet+) which is expanded in the elderly, but also accumulates prematurely in patients with autoimmune disorders and/or infectious diseases. In healthy individuals, ABCs represent a low prevalence population that positively impacts immunosenescence. In autoimmunity and infections though, ABCs expand dramatically and produce high titers of antibodies, thus playing a role in the regulation of humoral responses. Despite the fact that these observations were made on both mice and humans, the functional features of ABCs and their exact role in human health and disease are still elusive. This review focuses on ABC and ABC-like sub-populations found in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) patients (such as the double negative 2;DN2 population: CD19+,IgD-,CD27-, CXCR5-,T-bet+) and broaches the subject of their potential use as prognostic and/or diagnostic markers. The identification of novel biomarkers, via correlating the cell populations with the clinical profile of the patients, should enable better patient stratification and monitoring.  Moreover, the necessity and importance of elucidating the role of transcription factor T-bet (TBX21) in the pathogenesis of human autoimmunity are addressed. T-bet, whose expression is upregulated in both mouse and human ABCs, is considered to play a major role in various aspects of autoimmunity, such as the production of autoreactive IgG, the enhanced antigen presentation to T cells and also the formation of spontaneous germinal centres (GC). Shedding light to its role in human disease, in conjunction with the characterisation of genes and pathways associated with the transcription factor itself, may lead to the discovery of novel druggable targets.

Article Submitted: 11 May 2020; Revised Form: 22 Sep 2020; Article Accepted: 24 Sep 2020; Available Online: 30 Sep 2020

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. 

©Sachinidis A, Xanthopoulos K, Garyfallos A.