Understanding antibody repertoires and in particular, the properties and fates of B cells expressing potentially pathogenic antibodies is critical to define the mechanisms underlying multiple immunological diseases including autoimmune and allergic conditions as well as transplant rejection. Moreover, an integrated knowledge of the antibody repertoires expressed by B cells and plasma cells (PC) of different functional properties and longevity is essential to develop new therapeutic strategies, better biomarkers for disease segmentation, and new assays to measure restoration of B-cell tolerance or, at least, of normal B-cell homeostasis. Reaching these goals, however, will require a more precise phenotypic, functional and molecular definition of B-cell and PC populations, and a comprehensive analysis of the antigenic reactivity of the antibodies they express. While traditionally hampered by technical and ethical limitations in human experimentation, new technological advances currently enable investigators to address these questions in a comprehensive fashion. In this review, we shall discuss these concepts as they apply to the study of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.