T cells within germinal centers are specific for the immunizing antigen

Academic Article


  • A normal antibody response to T cell-dependent Ag requires physical contact between Ag-specific B and T cells. Because such Ag-specific cells are rare in vivo, we sought to identify an in vivo site where they physically contact each other. We examined the Ag specificity of T cells in germinal centers (GC) in lymph nodes, where it is known that Ag-specific B cells proliferate and mature. We investigated the Ag specificity of GC T cells in situ by examining two characteristics: 1) expression of certain V(α) and V(β) TCR families; and 2) incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into T cell DNA after exposure to Ag as an index of Ag-induced proliferation. When GC were induced in mice with cytochrome c and myelin basic protein, the GC T cells were found to preferentially express V(α)11 and V(β)8 TCR families, which are, respectively, the dominant TCR families in these two responses. Furthermore, GC T cells have proliferated upon exposure to the Ag that induced GC formation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that GC must recruit and retain Ag-specific T cells, thus implicating the GC as an in vivo site where Ag-specific T and B cells interact.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Fuller KA; Kanagawa O; Nahm MH
  • Start Page

  • 4505
  • End Page

  • 4512
  • Volume

  • 151
  • Issue

  • 9