T follicular helper cells express a distinctive transcriptional profile, reflecting their role as non-Th1/Th2 effector cells that provide help for B cells

Tatyana Chtanova, Stuart G. Tangye, Rebecca Newton, Nita Frank, Martin R. Hodge, Michael S. Rolph, Charles R. Mackay

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Effector T cell responses have long been viewed in the context of the Th1/Th2 paradigm. Recently, a third major subset of nonpolarized effector T cells that provides help to B cells has been identified. These T cells, termed T follicular helper (TFH) Cells home to the B cell areas of secondary lymphoid tissue, through interactions mediated via the chemokine receptor CXCR5 and its ligand CXCL13. Affymetrix microarrays were used to identify transcription factors, cytokines, and cell surface molecules that underlie the differentiation pathways and functional properties of the TFH subset. The transcriptional profile of human CXCR5+ TFH cells was compared with that of Th1 and Th2 cells, which enabled the identification of numerous genes expressed preferentially by TFH cells, over the other effector subsets. Certain TFH genes were also expressed by B cells and thus appear to be particularly relevant for humoral immunity. Abs were used to confirm the expression of several factors. In particular, CD84 and CD200, the cytokine IL-21, and the transcription factor BCL6 were all strongly associated with TFH cells. Gene microarrays reveal a highly distinctive transcriptional profile for a third subset of effector T cells that differs markedly from Th1 and Th2 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-78
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

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