The actions of BAFF in B-lymphocyte maturation and its effects on the development of autoimmune disease

  • F Melchers1

    Affiliated with

    Arthritis Res Ther20035(Suppl 3):16

    DOI: 10.1186/ar817

    Published: 12 September 2003

    BAFF, a member of the family of tumor necrosis factor ligands, is essential for the development of peripheral, mature, long-lived B lymphocytes. It binds to three different receptors (BCMA, TACI and BAFF-R), which are all members of the family of tumor necrosis factor receptors. Defects in the genes encoding either BAFF or BAFF-R abolish the generation of mature B cells. BAFF is made by myeloid cells while BAFF-R is expressed preferentially on B cells. BAFF induces polyclonal maturation of resting, short-lived immature cells to resting, long-lived mature B cells without proliferation. Lupus erythematodes-prone mice have elevated levels of BAFF in their blood, and treatment of these mice with BAFF decoy receptor (BCMA-Ig) prevents the onset of this autoimmune disease. Human lupus patients also show elevated levels of BAFF in their blood. Treatments with BAFF-neutralizing agents should prevent, delay or, at least, slow down the disease.

    Authors’ Affiliations

    Department of Cell Biology, Biozentrum of the University of Basel


    © BioMed Central Ltd 2003