The role of the T follicular helper cells in allergic disease

Cell Mol Immunol. 2012 Sep;9(5):386-9. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2012.31. Epub 2012 Aug 20.


T follicular helper (Tfh) cells were discovered just over a decade ago as germinal centre T cells that help B cells make antibodies. Included in this role is affinity maturation and isotype switching. It is here that their functions become less clear. Tfh cells principally produce IL-21 which inhibits class switching to IgE. Recent studies have questioned whether the germinal centre is the main site of IgE class switching or IgE affinity maturation. In this review, I will examine the evidence that these cells are responsible for regulating IgE class switching and the relationship between Tfh cells and T helper 2 (Th2) effector cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Germinal Center / immunology
  • Germinal Center / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Interleukins
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • interleukin-21