Leading the way to a cure


The roles of the individual elements of the BAFF axis in murine lupus

Stohl, William, MD PhD

University of Southern California

The BAFF (B-cell activating factor) axis plays a central role in B cell survival and development. The BAFF axis is made up of two binders (ligands) called BAFF and APRIL and three receptors, called BCMA, TACI, and BR3. (Note that the term BAFF refers to the entire axis as well as to one of the binders). 

Currently some lupus patients use a medicine called belimumab which neutralizes the BAFF binder. This drug helps many people with lupus, but does not help everyone with the disease. Do some interactions with BAFF receptors promote disease while interactions with one of the receptors is protective? 

Previously Dr. Stohl and his team have developed a mouse lupus model with mice deficient in the individual components of the BAFF axis. The current research uses this mouse model to look into the possibility that the interaction between the BAFF binder and BCMA and BR3 promotes disease while the interaction between the BAFF binder and TACI may be protective. And what about the presence and absence of APRIL? The research will involve a sort of round-robin tournament with binders and receptors to see how each of these components, and how combinations of them, may affect disease. 

What this study means for people with lupus: By isolating components it may be possible to identify which of the receptors is crucial in promoting lupus. If so, this research will lay the foundation for the development of medicines that interfere with disease-causing interactions within the BAFF axis.

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Lupus Research Alliance.

We're walking across the United States to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.


Show your support by visiting the Lupus Research Alliance online store. Discover the perfect gift, or prepare for a walk with our selection of apparel and accessories.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software