B cells are a type of white blood cell that play a key role in the immune system. They are produced in the bone marrow and are involved in the adaptive immune response, which is the body’s ability to recognize and respond to specific pathogens or foreign substances.
When a B cell encounters a pathogen, it produces a specific antibody that can recognize and bind to the pathogen. The antibody helps to neutralize the pathogen by preventing it from infecting cells or by targeting it for destruction by other immune cells.
B cells also have a memory function, which allows them to quickly recognize and respond to previously encountered pathogens. This memory response is the basis for many vaccines, which stimulate the immune system to produce specific antibodies that provide protection against future infections.
In addition to their role in the adaptive immune response, B cells also play a role in regulating the immune system. They produce cytokines, which are signaling molecules that help to coordinate the immune response.
Abnormalities in B cell function can lead to a variety of immune disorders, such as autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiencies, and lymphomas. B cell-targeted therapies have been developed to treat these conditions, such as monoclonal antibodies that specifically target B cells or their products.