B cells are required for development of spontaneous autoimmune thyroiditis (SAT) in NOD.H-2h4 mice where they function as important APCs for activation of CD4+ T cells. Depletion of B cells using anti-CD20 effectively inhibits SAT development. The goals of this study were to characterize the B cells that migrate to thyroids in SAT, and to determine whether anti-CD20 effectively targets those B cells in mice with established SAT. The results showed that most thyroid-infiltrating B cells in mice with SAT are follicular (FO) B cells. Expression of CD80, CD86, and CD40 was significantly increased on FO, but not marginal zone, splenic B cells after SAT development. Thyroid-infiltrating and peripheral blood B cells had lower expresion of CD20 and CD24 compared with splenic and lymph node FO B cells. Despite reduced CD20 expression, anti-CD20 depleted most B cells in thyroids of mice with established SAT within 3 d. B cell depletion in thyroids of mice given anti-CD20 was more complete and longer lasting than in spleen and lymph nodes and was comparable to that in blood. Circulation of B cells was required for effective and rapid removal of B cells in thyroids because preventing lymphocyte egress by administration of FTY720 abrogated the effects of anti- CD20 on thyroid B cells. Therefore, the FO subset of B cells preferentially contributes to SAT development and persistence, and anti-CD20 targeting of FO B cells effectively eliminates B cells in the target organ even though thyroid B cells have decreased CD20 expression.