T follicular helper (Tfh) cells promote T cell-dependent humoral immune responses by providing T cell help to B cells and by promoting germinal center (GC) formation and long-lived antibody responses. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control Tfh cell differentiation in vivo are incompletely understood. Here we show that interleukin-2 (IL-2) administration impaired influenza-specific GCs, long-lived IgG responses, and Tfh cells. IL-2 did not directly inhibit GC formation, but instead suppressed the differentiation of Tfh cells, thereby hindering the maintenance of influenza-specific GC B cells. Our data demonstrate that IL-2 is a critical factor that regulates successful Tfh and B cell responses in vivo and regulates Tfh cell development. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.