Introduction: For late stage organ failure patients, transplantation is the best option to increase life expectancy with a superior quality of life. Unfortunately, after transplantation many patients are at risk of cellular and antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). The latter is initiated by donor specific antibodies (DSA) which depend on the actions of B cells, T follicular helper (Tfh) cells and T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells that are present in the germinal center of lymphoid organs. Areas covered: In this overview paper, we discuss the biology and function of Tfh and Tfr cells in lymphoid tissues, transplanted organs and their circulating counterparts. We report on their relevance to alloimmunity and on the effects of immunosuppressive drugs on these immunocompetent cell populations. Expert opinion: Growing knowledge about the actions of Tfh and Tfr allows for a better understanding of the immunological mechanisms of ABMR after organ transplantation. This understanding feeds the hypothesis that immunosuppressive drugs targeting the actions of Tfh cells have huge therapeutic potential. This new concept in the treatment of the humoral rejection response will improve graft and patient survival after organ transplantation.

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Expert Review of Clinical Immunology

Niu, Q. (Qian), Kraaijeveld, R., Li, Y. (Yi), Mendoza Rojas, A. (Aleixandra), Shi, Y., Wang, L. (Lanlan), … Baan, C. (2019). An overview of T follicular cells in transplantation: spotlight on their clinical significance. Expert Review of Clinical Immunology. doi:10.1080/1744666X.2020.1693262