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Eur J Immunol. 2014 Jul;44(7):2130-8. doi: 10.1002/eji.201344203. Epub 2014 May 21.

B-cell-intrinsic STAT6 signaling controls germinal center formation.

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Department of Infection Biology, Institute for Clinical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and Friedrich-Alexander Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany.


Infection with helminths and exposure to antigens induce a strong type 2 immune response resulting in the secretion of the cytokines IL-4 and IL-13 by CD4(+) T cells and several innate cell types. IL-4 and IL-13 promote class switch recombination to IgG1 and IgE while their role for germinal center (GC) formation is poorly understood. We found a dramatic reduction in the numbers of GC B cells when investigating different type 2 immune responses in IL-4/IL-13-deficient mice. IL-4/IL-13 from T cells located outside B-cell follicles was sufficient for GC formation. We further revealed that IL-4/IL-13 acts directly on B cells for the formation of a robust GC response. The frequency of apoptotic GC B cells was not altered in the absence of IL-4/IL-13 and proliferation was even enhanced. However, deficiency of signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 signaling in B cells resulted in failure to downregulate the chemotactic receptor Gpr183 (Ebi2) and downregulation of this receptor has been shown to be essential for proper GC B-cell differentiation. Thus, T-cell-derived extrafollicular IL-4/IL-13 and signal transducer and activator of transcription 6-regulated genes in B cells play a critical role for orchestration of the GC response in type 2 immunity.


B cells; Germinal center; IL-13; IL-4; STAT6

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