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Science. 2009 Mar 13;323(5920):1488-92. doi: 10.1126/science.1169152.

Preferential generation of follicular B helper T cells from Foxp3+ T cells in gut Peyer's patches.

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  • 1Laboratory for Mucosal Immunity, RIKEN, Yokohama 1-7-22, Tsurumi, Yokohama, 230-0045, Japan.


Most of the immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the gut is generated by B cells in the germinal centers of Peyer's patches through a process that requires the presence of CD4+ follicular B helper T(TFH) cells. The nature of these T(FH) cells in Peyer's patches has been elusive. Here, we demonstrate that suppressive Foxp3+CD4+ T cells can differentiate into TFH cells in mouse Peyer's patches. The conversion of Foxp3+ T cells into TFH cells requires the loss of Foxp3 expression and subsequent interaction with B cells. Thus, environmental cues present in gut Peyer's patches promote the selective differentiation of distinct helper T cell subsets, such as TFH cells.

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