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Autoimmunity. 2012 Aug;45(5):333-47. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2012.665524. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Germinal center B-cells.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology and Gwen Knapp Center for Lupus and Immunology Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA. Khamel@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu

Abstract

Within the B-cell follicle of secondary lymphoid organs, germinal center (GC) reactions produce high affinity antibody-secreting plasma cells (PCs) and memory B-cells necessary for the host's defense against invading pathogens. This process of GC formation is reliant on the activation of antigen-specific B-cells by T-cells capable of recognizing epitopes of the same antigenic complex. The unique architecture of secondary lymphoid organs facilitates these initial GC events through the placement of large clonally-diverse B-cell follicles near equally diverse T-cell zones. Antigen-activated B-cells that receive proper differentiation signals at the T-cell border of the B-cell follicle initiate an early GC B-cell transcriptional profile and migrate to follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks within the B-cell follicle to seed the GC reaction. Peripheral to FDCs, GC B-cells rapidly divide in dark zones of the GC, and undergo somatic hypermutation of their immunoglobulin (Ig) variable domain. Newly formed GC B-cell clones then migrate into the GC light zone where they compete for antigen and secondary signals presented by FDCs and a specialized subset of CD4(+) T-cells known as T-follicular helper (T(FH)) cells. Survival, proliferative and differentiation signals delivered by mature FDCs and T(FH) cells initiate transcriptional programs that determine if GC B-cells become memory B-cells or terminally differentiated PCs. To prevent oncogenic transformation and/or the escape of autoreactive clones, there are several regulatory mechanisms that restrict GC B-cell proliferation and survival. Here we will detail the recent advances in GC B-cell biology that relate to their generation and fate-determination as well as their pathogenic potential.

PMID:
22390182
DOI:
10.3109/08916934.2012.665524
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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