About this Research Topic
B cells play a pivotal role in the humoral immune response through the secretion of highly diverse and specific antibodies. Besides this well-known function, able to guarantee protection from invading pathogens, B cells contribute to cellular immunity as antigen-presenting cells, or as effectors cells able to enhance or regulate the immune response. The aim of this Research Topic is to focus on discussing the lesser-known functions of B cells.
Thymic B cells have been shown to express tissue-restricted antigens and act as antigen-presenting cells. It has been proposed that they aid the negative selection of autoreactive thymocytes and play a key role in tolerance. Moreover, another subpopulation of B cells, characterized by CD21low and CD11c+ have been proposed to play a role in antigen presentation. This population is increased in patients affected by common variable immunodeficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, and infectious diseases. However, their role is still debated. Other unconventional roles of B cells include 1) their function in bone formation, where B cells have been shown to produce cytokines impacting osteoclasts, 2) their function in the central nervous system where they have been shown to exert innate-like functions and promote oligodendrocytes proliferation, 3) the immunoregulatory role of B-cell or Bregs, 4) their role in cancer, particularly through the anti-tumor antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxic (ADCC) reactions, and 5) the ambivalent role of B cells in atherosclerosis.
A deeper knowledge of the multifaceted functions of B cells as enhancers and regulators of immunity might shed light on the pathogenesis of, not only immune-mediated processes but also metabolic and tumoral diseases, optimizing B cell targeting therapies in these different clinical settings. The aim of this Research Topic is to collect the most recent data on the multiple roles of B cells beyond the classical humoral immune response. We welcome authors to submit Original Research, Review Perspective, Mini-review, articles focusing on:
1. B cells as antigen-presenting cells
2. B cells as supportive cell, e.g. in bone formation or in the CNS
3. Immunoregulatory roles of B cells
4. B cells in tumors
5. Ambivalent roles of B cells in atherosclerosis
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.