T Follicular Helper Cell Dynamics in Germinal Centers

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Science  09 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6146, pp. 673-677
DOI: 10.1126/science.1241680

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Germinal centers are specialized structures within lymph nodes, where B cells undergo the changes required to produce high-affinity antibodies. This process relies on T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. The dynamic properties of Tfh cells and how they affect the selection of B cells, however, are not well understood. Using two-photon laser scanning microscopy of mouse lymph nodes, Shulman et al. (p. 673, published online 25 July) find that Tfh cells are not restricted to a single germinal center, but instead emigrate into neighboring germinal centers within the same lymph nodes. Furthermore, newly activated T cells can enter already established germinal centers and presumably influence ongoing B cell selection and differentiation. Such active movement may ensure maximal diversification of the B cell response and promote the production of high-affinity antibodies.