Insights into the development and regulation of T follicular helper cells

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Abstract

T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are specialized subset of T helper (Th) cells necessary for germinal center reaction, affinity maturation and the differentiation of germinal center B cells to antibody-producing plasma B cells and memory B cells. The differentiation of Tfh cells is a multistage, multifactorial process involving a variety of cytokines, surface molecules and transcription factors. While Tfh cells are critical components of protective immune responses against pathogens, regulation of these cells is crucial to prevent autoimmunity and airway inflammation. Recently, it has been noted that Tfh cells could be potentially implicated either in cancer progression or prevention. Thus, the elucidation of the mechanisms that regulate Tfh cell differentiation, function and fate should highlight potential targets for novel therapeutic approaches. In this review, we summarize the latest advances in our understanding of the regulation of Tfh cell differentiation and their role in health and disease.

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