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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 827254, 17 pages
Review Article

B Lymphocytes: Development, Tolerance, and Their Role in Autoimmunity—Focus on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Fundación Valle del Lili, ICESI University School of Medicine, Cra 98 No. 18-49, Cali, Colombia

Received 30 June 2013; Accepted 6 August 2013

Academic Editor: Juan-Manuel Anaya

Copyright © 2013 Gabriel J. Tobón et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


B lymphocytes are the effectors of humoral immunity, providing defense against pathogens through different functions including antibody production. B cells constitute approximately 15% of peripheral blood leukocytes and arise from hemopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. It is here that their antigen receptors (surface immunoglobulin) are assembled. In the context of autoimmune diseases defined by B and/or T cell autoreactive that upon activation lead to chronic tissue inflammation and often irreversible structural and functional damage, B lymphocytes play an essential role by not only producing autoantibodies but also functioning as antigen-presenting cells (APC) and as a source of cytokines. In this paper, we describe B lymphocyte functions in autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases with a special focus on their abnormalities in systemic lupus erythematosus.