T follicular helper cells in space-time

Nat Rev Immunol. 2016 Oct;16(10):612-25. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.94. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


T follicular helper (TFH) cells play a crucial part in the development of humoral immunity by controlling the formation of, and the cellular reactions that occur in, germinal centres. Within these organized lymphoid tissue microstructures, B cells proliferate and somatically mutate to produce long-lived, high-affinity plasma cells and memory B cells. TFH cells exhibit unique molecular, cellular and tissue-dynamic features that are integral to their development and function but that are not necessarily compatible with the classical paradigm of effector CD4(+) T cell differentiation. Here, I discuss recent advances in TFH cell biology and their implications for our understanding of T cell differentiation and memory in humoral immunity from spatiotemporal and functional perspectives.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Clonal Selection, Antigen-Mediated
  • Germinal Center / immunology
  • Germinal Center / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral / genetics
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Immunological Synapses / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism*