Inflammation Research

, 58:345 | Cite as

Killer B lymphocytes: the evidence and the potential

  • Steven K. LundyEmail author


Immune regulation plays a critical role in controlling potentially dangerous inflammation and maintaining health. The Fas ligand/Fas receptor axis has been studied extensively as a mechanism of killing T cells and other cells during infections, autoimmunity, and cancer. FasL expression has been primarily attributed to activated T cells and NK cells. Evidence has emerged that B lymphocytes can express FasL and other death-inducing ligands, and can mediate cell death under many circumstances. Among B cell subsets, the expression of both Fas ligand and IL-10 is highest on the CD5+ B cell population, suggesting that CD5+ B cells may have a specialized regulatory function. The relevance of killer B cells to normal immune regulation, disease pathogenesis, and inflammation is discussed.


B lymphocytes Immune regulation Fas ligand Th cell apoptosis Cell-based therapy 



Thank you to David A. Fox and Dov L. Boros for critical review of the manuscript and excellent suggestions. Grant support during the writing of this review was received from the National Institutes of Health, Arthritis Foundation, and the Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Charitable Foundation. The author has no financial conflicts of interest related to publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA

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