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      B Cell Therapy in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: From Rationale to Clinical Practice


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          B cell hyperactivity and breach of tolerance constitute hallmarks of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The heterogeneity of disease manifestations and relatively rare prevalence of SLE have posed difficulties in trial design and contributed to a slow pace for drug development. The anti-BAFF monoclonal antibody belimumab is still the sole targeted therapy licensed for SLE, lending credence to the widely accepted notion that B cells play central roles in lupus pathogenesis. However, more therapeutic agents directed toward B cells or B cell-related pathways are used off-label or have been trialed in SLE. The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab has been used to treat refractory SLE during the last two decades, and the anti-type I IFN receptor anifrolumab is currently awaiting approval after one phase III clinical trial which met its primary endpoint and one phase III trial which met key secondary endpoints. While the latter does not directly affect the maturation and antibody production activity of B cells, it is expected to affect the contribution of B cells in proinflammatory cytokine excretion. The proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, primarily directed toward the plasma cells, has been used in few severe cases as an escape regimen. Collectively, current clinical experience and primary results of ongoing clinical trials prophesy that B cell therapies of selective targets will have an established place in the future personalized therapeutic management of lupus patients.

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          Combined oral contraceptives in women with systemic lupus erythematosus.

          Oral contraceptives are rarely prescribed for women with systemic lupus erythematosus, because of concern about potential negative side effects. In this double-blind, randomized, noninferiority trial, we prospectively evaluated the effect of oral contraceptives on lupus activity in premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus. A total of 183 women with inactive (76 percent) or stable active (24 percent) systemic lupus erythematosus at 15 U.S. sites were randomly assigned to receive either oral contraceptives (triphasic ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 35 microg plus norethindrone at a dose of 0.5 to 1 mg for 12 cycles of 28 days each; 91 women) or placebo (92 women) and were evaluated at months 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Subjects were excluded if they had moderate or high levels of anticardiolipin antibodies, lupus anticoagulant, or a history of thrombosis. The primary end point, a severe lupus flare, occurred in 7 of 91 subjects receiving oral contraceptives (7.7 percent) as compared with 7 of 92 subjects receiving placebo (7.6 percent). The 12-month rates of severe flare were similar: 0.084 for the group receiving oral contraceptives and 0.087 for the placebo group (P=0.95; upper limit of the one-sided 95 percent confidence interval for this difference, 0.069, which is within the prespecified 9 percent margin for noninferiority). Rates of mild or moderate flares were 1.40 flares per person-year for subjects receiving oral contraceptives and 1.44 flares per person-year for subjects receiving placebo (relative risk, 0.98; P=0.86). In the group that was randomized to receive oral contraceptives, there was one deep venous thrombosis and one clotted graft; in the placebo group, there was one deep venous thrombosis, one ocular thrombosis, one superficial thrombophlebitis, and one death (after cessation of the trial). Our study indicates that oral contraceptives do not increase the risk of flare among women with systemic lupus erythematosus whose disease is stable. Copyright 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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            Clinical efficacy and side effects of antimalarials in systemic lupus erythematosus: a systematic review.

            Antimalarial drugs (AMs), chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), are frequently withdrawn in patients with lupus with either severe or remitting disease. However, additional effects beyond immunomodulation have been recently described. The aim of the present work was to analyse all the published evidence of the beneficial and adverse effects of AM therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). A systematic review of the English literature between 1982 and 2007 was conducted using the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies were selected. Case reports were excluded except for toxicity reports. The GRADE system was used to analyse the quality of the evidence. A total of 95 articles were included in the systematic review. High levels of evidence were found that AMs prevent lupus flares and increase long-term survival of patients with SLE; moderate evidence of protection against irreversible organ damage, thrombosis and bone mass loss. Toxicity related to AMs is infrequent, mild and usually reversible, with HCQ having a safer profile. In pregnant women, high levels of evidence were found that AMs, particularly HCQ, decrease lupus activity without harming the baby. By contrast, evidence supporting an effect on severe lupus activity, lipid levels and subclinical atherosclerosis was weak. Individual papers suggest effects in preventing the evolution from SLE-like to full-blown SLE, influencing vitamin D levels and protecting patients with lupus against cancer. Given the broad spectrum of beneficial effects and the safety profile, HCQ should be given to most patients with SLE during the whole course of the disease, irrespective of its severity, and be continued during pregnancy.
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              TACI and BCMA are receptors for a TNF homologue implicated in B-cell autoimmune disease.

              B cells are important in the development of autoimmune disorders by mechanisms involving dysregulated polyclonal B-cell activation, production of pathogenic antibodies, and co-stimulation of autoreactive T cells. zTNF4 (BLyS, BAFF, TALL-1, THANK) is a member of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) ligand family that is a potent co-activator of B cells in vitro and in vivo. Here we identify two receptors for zTNF4 and demonstrate a relationship between zTNF4 and autoimmune disease. Transgenic animals overexpressing zTNF4 in lymphoid cells develop symptoms characteristic of systemic lupus erythaematosus (SLE) and expand a rare population of splenic B-Ia lymphocytes. In addition, circulating zTNF4 is more abundant in NZBWF1 and MRL-lpr/lpr mice during the onset and progression of SLE. We have identified two TNF receptor family members, TACI and BCMA, that bind zTNF4. Treatment of NZBWF1 mice with soluble TACI-Ig fusion protein inhibits the development of proteinuria and prolongs survival of the animals. These findings demonstrate the involvement of zTNF4 and its receptors in the development of SLE and identify TACI-Ig as a promising treatment of autoimmune disease in humans.

                Author and article information

                Front Med (Lausanne)
                Front Med (Lausanne)
                Front. Med.
                Frontiers in Medicine
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                09 July 2020
                : 7
                [1] 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet , Stockholm, Sweden
                [2] 2Rheumatology, Karolinska University Hospital , Stockholm, Sweden
                [3] 3Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg , Gothenburg, Sweden
                [4] 4Division of Inflammation and Infection, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University , Linköping, Sweden
                Author notes

                Edited by: Md Yuzaiful Md Yusof, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

                Reviewed by: Chris Wincup, University College London, United Kingdom; Antonis Fanouriakis, University General Hospital Attikon, Greece

                *Correspondence: Ioannis Parodis ioannis.parodis@ 123456ki.se

                This article was submitted to Rheumatology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Medicine

                Copyright © 2020 Parodis, Stockfelt and Sjöwall.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 131, Pages: 11, Words: 9876
                Funded by: Reumatikerförbundet 10.13039/501100007949
                Funded by: Stiftelsen Professor Nanna Svartz Fond 10.13039/501100009800
                Funded by: Stockholms Läns Landsting 10.13039/501100004348
                Funded by: Karolinska Institutet 10.13039/501100004047
                Funded by: Länsstyrelsen Östergötland 10.13039/501100003749
                Funded by: Stiftelsen Konung Gustaf V:s 80-årsfond 10.13039/501100007857
                Funded by: Konung Gustaf V:s och Drottning Victorias Frimurarestiftelse 10.13039/501100006129

                b cells,systemic lupus erythematosus,therapy,biologics,plasma cells,plasmablasts,lupus nephritis


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