T cell help to B cells is a fundamental aspect of adaptive immunity and the generation of immunological memory. Follicular helper CD4 T (T) cells are the specialized providers of B cell help. T cells depend on expression of the master regulator transcription factor Bcl6. Distinguishing features of T cells are the expression of CXCR5, PD-1, SAP (SH2D1A), IL-21, and ICOS, among other molecules, and the absence of Blimp-1 (). T cells are important for the formation of germinal centers. Once germinal centers are formed, T cells are needed to maintain them and to regulate germinal center B cell differentiation into plasma cells and memory B cells. This review covers T differentiation, T functions, and human T cells, discussing recent progress and areas of uncertainty or disagreement in the literature, and it debates the developmental relationship between T cells and other CD4 T cell subsets (Th1, Th2, Th17, iTreg).


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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