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CXCR5 expressing human central memory CD4 T Cells and their relevance for humoral immune responses


High expression of CXCR5 is one of the defining hallmarks of T follicular helper cells (T(FH)), a CD4 Th cell subset that promotes germinal center reactions and the selection and affinity maturation of B cells. CXCR5 is also expressed on 20-25% of peripheral blood human central memory CD4 T cells (T(CM)), although the definitive function of these cells is not fully understood. The constitutive expression of CXCR5 on T(FH) cells and a fraction of circulating T(CM) suggests that CXCR5(+) T(CM) may represent a specialized subset of memory-type T(FH) cells programmed for homing to follicles and providing B cell help. To verify this assumption, we analyzed this cell population and show its specialized function in supporting humoral immune responses. Compared with their CXCR5(-) T(CM) counterparts, CXCR5(+) T(CM) expressed high levels of the chemokine CXCL13 and efficiently induced plasma cell differentiation and Ig secretion. We found that the distinct B cell helper qualities of CXCR5(+) T(CM) were mainly due to high ICOS expression and pronounced responsiveness to ICOS ligand costimulation together with large IL-10 secretion. Furthermore, B cell helper attributes of CXCR5(+) T(CM) were almost exclusively acquired on cognate interaction with B cells, but not with dendritic cells. This implies that a preferential recruitment of circulating CXCR5(+) T(CM) to CXCL13-rich B cell follicles is required for the promotion of a quick and efficient protective secondary humoral immune response. Taken together, we propose that CXCR5(+) T(CM) represent a distinct memory cell subset specialized in supporting Ab-mediated immune responses.

Authors Chevalier, N.; Jarrossay, D.; Ho, E.; Avery, D. T.; Ma, C. S.; Yu, D.; Sallusto, F.; Tangye, S. G.; Mackay, C. R.:
Publisher Name J IMMUNOL
Published Date 2011-05-15 00:00:00
Published Volume 186
Published Issue 10
Published Pages 5556-68
Status Published in-print