Cognate interactions : extrafollicular IL-4 drives germinal-center reactions, a new role for an old cytokine

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Over the past 25 years it has become clear that B and T lymphocytes go through a range of interactions and migratory events when B cells differentiate to become high-affinity, antibody-secreting cells. This B-cell differentiation is associated with multiple sequential cognate interactions. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, Turqueti-Neves et al. [Eur. J. Immunol. 2014. 44: 2130–2138] show that IL-4, a cytokine well known as a regulator of Ig class switch recombination, has another as-yet-unappreciated role. The authors show that IL-4 produced by T-helper cells outside germinal centers has a major effect on the early stages of germinal-center B-cell differentiation. This Commentary will summarize their findings and relate them to what we know on the sequence of cognate interactions and migratory events B cells undergo during T-dependent immune responses.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1917-1920
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number7
Early online date16 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


  • B cells, Germinal center, IL-4, IL-13, STAT6