What are B cells and why are they important in NMO?

James Kim, MD – Massachusetts General Hospital:

B cells are part of the immune system, most well known for producing antibodies. In the normal situation, when one is infected by a virus or a bacteria, these antibodies are necessary to clear this microbe. But in the case of autoimmunity like NMO, something more mysterious happens. Actually the antibodies are not directed towards the virus or microbe, but actually they’re directed towards the self. There are parts of the body that these antibodies bind. Now that we know the … this portion of the body that these antibodies are binding in the case of NMO, researchers are now looking at the causes for this immune deviation, and also identifying ways to treat the disease.

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