B lineage cells in anca-associated vasculitis

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Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) is a systemic autoimmune disease that affects small sized blood vessels and can lead to serious complications in the lungs and kidneys. The prominent presence of ANCA autoantibodies in this disease implicates B cells in its pathogenesis, as these are the precursors of the ANCA-producing plasma cells (PCs). Further evidence supporting the potential role of B lineage cells in vasculitis are the increased B cell cytokine levels and the dysregulated B cell populations in patients. Confirmation of the contribution of B cells to pathology arose from the beneficial effect of anti-CD20 therapy (i.e., rituximab) in AAV patients. These anti-CD20 antibodies deplete circulating B cells, which results in amelioration of disease. However, not all patients respond completely, and this treatment does not target PCs, which can maintain ANCA production. Hence, it is important to develop more specific therapies for AAV patients. Intracellular signalling pathways may be potential therapeutic targets as they can show (disease-specific) alterations in certain B lineage cells, including pathogenic B cells, and contribute to differentiation and survival of PCs. Preliminary data on the inhibition of certain signalling molecules downstream of receptors specific for B lineage cells show promising therapeutic effects. In this narrative review, B cell specific receptors and their downstream signalling molecules that may contribute to pathology in AAV are discussed, including the potential to therapeutically target these pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Article number387
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • ANCA
  • ANCA-associated vasculitis
  • Autoimmunity
  • B cells
  • Plasma cells
  • Signalling

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