Rejuvenating conventional dendritic cells and T follicular helper cell formation after vaccination

Marisa Stebegg, Alexandre Bignon, Danika Lea Hill, Alyssa Silva-Cayetano, Christel Krueger, Ine Vanderleyden, Silvia Innocentin, Louis Boon, Jiong Wang, Martin S. Zand, James Dooley, Jonathan Clark, Adrian Liston, Edward Carr, Michelle A. Linterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Germinal centres (GCs) are T follicular helper cell (Tfh)-dependent structures that form in response to vaccination, producing long-lived antibody secreting plasma cells and memory B cells that protect against subsequent infection. With advancing age the GC and Tfh cell response declines, resulting in impaired humoral immunity. We sought to discover what underpins the poor Tfh cell response in ageing and whether it is possible to correct it. Here, we demonstrate that older people and aged mice have impaired Tfh cell differentiation upon vaccination. This deficit is preceded by poor activation of conventional dendritic cells type 2 (cDC2) due to reduced type 1 interferon signalling. Importantly, the Tfh and cDC2 cell response can be boosted in aged mice by treatment with a TLR7 agonist. This demonstrates that age-associated defects in the cDC2 and Tfh cell response are not irreversible and can be enhanced to improve vaccine responses in older individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52473
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Stebegg, M., Bignon, A., Hill, D. L., Silva-Cayetano, A., Krueger, C., Vanderleyden, I., Innocentin, S., Boon, L., Wang, J., Zand, M. S., Dooley, J., Clark, J., Liston, A., Carr, E., & Linterman, M. A. (2020). Rejuvenating conventional dendritic cells and T follicular helper cell formation after vaccination. eLife, 9, [e52473].