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Immunol Rev. 2013 Mar;252(1):146-55. doi: 10.1111/imr.12031.

T-cell subsets in the germinal center.

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Department of Pathogens and Immunity, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.


T cells are known to migrate to B-cell-enriched follicles and germinal centers within secondary lymphoid organs to provide help to B cells. Cognate T:B interactions that take place at the T:B border and subsequently within germinal centers are essential for B-cell priming, differentiation into germinal center B cells, and selection of mutated cells into memory B cells or memory plasma cells. In recent years, different stages of maturation within B-cell helper T cells, collectively known as B-follicular helper T (Tfh) cells, as well as heterogeneity amid germinal center T cells are becoming clear. Indeed, germinal centers support not only bona fide Tfh cells but also CD4(+) and CD8(+) follicular regulatory T (Tfr) cells that act to suppress germinal center responses and B-cell helper natural killer T cells. There is a growing need for more precise phenotypic and functional distinction of these specialized T-cell subsets. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the ontogeny, molecular identity, and functional relevance of the various subsets of germinal center T cells.

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