Targeting T Follicular Helper Cells to Control Humoral Allogeneic Immunity

Transplantation. 2021 Nov 1;105(11):e168-e180. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000003776.


Humoral allogeneic immunity driven by anti-HLA donor-specific antibodies and antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) significantly impede prolonged survival of organ allografts after transplantation. Although the importance of T follicular helper (TFH) cells in controlling antibody responses has been long established, their role in directing donor-specific antibody generation leading to AMR was only recently appreciated in the clinical setting of organ transplantation. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of the current knowledge on the biology of human TFH cells as well as their circulating counterparts and describe their pivotal role in driving humoral alloimmunity. In addition, we discuss the intrinsic effects of current induction therapies and maintenance immunosuppressive drugs as well as of biotherapies on TFH cells and provide future directions and novel opportunities of biotherapeutic targeting of TFH cells that have the potential of bringing the prophylactic and curative treatments of AMR toward personalized and precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Organ Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • T Follicular Helper Cells
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer