Medecine sciences : M/S 2017 10 1033(10) 878-886 doi 10.1051/medsci/20173310020
Follicular helper T cells (Tfh) have been discovered in lymph nodes and, since then, are the focus of very intensive research to understand their origin, differentiation and functions. Tfh interact with B cells in the secondary lymphoid organs leading to B cell differentiation and maturation. Tfh are particularly studied in pathological contexts such as autoimmune diseases and infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the context of HIV infection, broadly neutralizing antibodies have been identified in a few patients. The generation of these broadly neutralizing antibodies requires a long and complex maturation of B cells in the secondary lymphoid organs. Characterizing Tfh functions and the relation with the quality of antibodies in HIV infection might help in designing novel immunotherapies and vaccination strategies to induce broadly neutralizing antibodies.