T follicular helper cells, interleukin-21 and systemic lupus erythematosus

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SLE is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease characterized by a breakdown of tolerance to nuclear antigens and generation of high-affinity pathogenic autoantibodies. These autoantibodies form, with autoantigens, immune complexes that are involved in organ and tissue damages. Understanding how the production of these pathogenic autoantibodies arises is of prime importance. T follicular helper cells (Tfh) and IL-21 have emerged as central players in this process. This article reviews the pathogenic role of Tfh cells and IL-21 in SLE.

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