Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 74–79 | Cite as

Rituximab: Beyond Simple B Cell Depletion

  • A. Kessel
  • I. Rosner
  • E. ToubiEmail author


Rituximab, a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has a proven track record for over a decade in the treatment of lymphomas, where it has been used to eradicate malignant lymphocytes. In appreciation of the putative role of B cells, especially with respect to autoantibody production, in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, successful trials of B-cell depletion therapy in RA, SLE, and other autoimmune diseases have been carried out. In these trials, clinical benefit has generally correlated with the extent and duration of B-cell depletion, but at times imperfectly, and autoantibody reduction only selectively. Additional mechanisms whereby rituximab may assert its clinical benefit in autoimmune diseases have been examined including a look at B-cell functions as T-cell modulator and antigen-presenting cell, T-regulatory cell behavior, NK cell activity, and macrophage activities in immune inflammation. The available data on rituximab’s action in autoimmune diseases is reviewed.


Rituximab B-cell depletion Lymphomas 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Bnai Zion Medical Center, TechnionRappaport Faculty of MedicineHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Rheumatology Unit, Bnai Zion Medical Center, TechnionRappaport Faculty of MedicineHaifaIsrael

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