About this Research Topic
B cells are critical components of the immune system and have an essential role in the pathogenesis of several diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Besides producing antibodies, many critical immunoregulatory roles for B cells have been described, including direct effects on the behavior of different cell types of both the adaptive and innate immune systems, or indirect effects through antigen presentation and the production of cytokines which can impact cell differentiation and/or effector functions.
B cells can contribute to neurological disorders either through their actions in the periphery, i.e., through an “outside-in” effect on CNS immunopathology, or following their compartmentalization within the CNS. The local milieu of cytokines in the inflamed CNS promotes B cell migration from the periphery by enhancing B cell chemoattraction and lymphoid organization. Alternatively, in chronically inflamed CNS tissue, B cells form packed aggregates in the meningeal space, some of which seem to be organized and reminiscent of germinal centers. The presence of these meningeal immune cell aggregates, in which B cells can be a prominent feature, has been associated with more aggressive clinical disease and a greater extent of CNS tissue injury in subsets of relatively late-phase progressive multiple sclerosis patients. There have been positive clinical results obtained using B cell depleting therapies in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other CNS diseases with an autoantibody component, such as neuromyelitis optica and autoimmune encephalitis. This indicates that B cells play a critical role in the pathophysiology of both cellular and humoral-mediated CNS conditions. Emerging evidence also suggests B cells contribute to the pathogenesis of traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, as well as neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
Nevertheless, the highly central role of B cells in the immunopathogenesis of CNS disorders has been heretofore not fully recognized, although it is clear these cells, along with their products, may be involved -directly or indirectly- in CNS tissue injury. Hence, advancing our understanding of the basis of B-cell function and dysfunction is of particular interest for the development of new targeted biomarkers and therapies in neurological conditions.
This Research Topic will provide a comprehensive overview of the functions of B cells in the CNS during homeostasis and in the presence of acute and chronic inflammatory and/or neurodegenerative diseases. We welcome the submission of Reviews, Mini-Review, Original Research, Perspective and Commentary articles covering animal and human-based studies that address, among others, the following areas:
• B cell functions in the innate immune system.
• B cell functions in the adaptive immune system.
• Crosstalk between glial cells and B cells.
• B cells and autoantibodies.
• Role of B cells in neuroinflammatory diseases.
• Role of B cells in neurodegenerative diseases.
• B cell adhesion molecules and permeability of the blood-brain barrier
• Ectopic lymphoid follicles and B cell aggregates in the CNS.
• B cell migration into the CNS in health and disease.
• B cell depleting therapies
Keywords: B cells, B lymphocytes, antibodies, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, humoral immune response
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