T lymphocytes are the primary targets of immunotherapy in clinical transplantation. However, B lymphocytes are detrimental to graft survival by virtue of their capacity to present antigen to T cells via the indirect pathway of allorecognition and the generation of donor specific alloantibody. Furthermore, the long-term survival of organ allografts remains challenged by chronic rejection, a process in which activated B cells have been found to play a significant role. Therefore, the achievement of transplantation tolerance will likely require induction of both T and B cell tolerance to alloantigens. Moreover, human and animal investigations have shown that subsets of B cells, Transitional and Regulatory, are inherently tolerogenic. Developing therapeutic strategies that exploit these populations may be key to achieving transplantation tolerance. In this review we describe the current evidence for the essential role of B cells in transplant tolerance and discuss emerging B cell directed strategies to achieve allograft tolerance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy