Volume 5 Supplement 3

3rd World Congress of the Global Arthritis Research Network (GARN): International Arthritis Summit

Open Access

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

  • F Melchers1
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


© The Author(s) 2003