New helping friends for B cells

Andrea Cerutti, Irene Puga, Montserrat Cols

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Over the past decade, a growing recognition of the importance of neutralizing antibodies in host defense combined with the success of B-cell depletion therapies in treating auto-immune disorders has led to an increased focus on better understanding the pathways underpinning B-cell antibody production. In general, B cells require cognate interaction with T helper cells in the germinal center of lymphoid follicles to generate protective antibodies. However, recent evidence shows that B cells receive additional help from invariant natural killer T cells, dendritic cells, and various granulocytes, including neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. These innate immune cells enhance T-cell-dependent antibody responses by delivering B-cell helper signals both in the germinal center and at postgerminal center lymphoid sites such as the bone marrow. In addition to enhancing and complementing the B-cell helper activity of canonical T cells, invariant natural killer T cells, dendritic cells, and granulocytes can deliver T cell-independent B-cell helper signals at the mucosal interface and in the marginal zone of the spleen to initiate rapid innate-like antibody responses. Here, we discuss recent advances in the role of adaptive and innate B-cell helper signals in antibody diversification and production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1956-1968
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Cytokines
  • Dendritic cells (DCs)
  • Granulocytes
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Lymphocytes


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