Deciphering the CD4+ T cell compartment in follicular lymphoma
Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the most frequent indolent lymphoma and results from the malignant transformation of germinal centre B cells in secondary lymphoid organs. Beside the genetic alterations associated with the deregulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl2, the growth of malignant FL B cells relies on the development of a supportive microenvironment, which forms a specialized cell niche contributing to disease development, progression, and drug resistance. Several studies showed that malignant FL B cells are found admixed to specific immune cell subsets, in particular CD4+ T cells. In addition, the nature and the localization of T cells were associated with prognosis. This suggests that different functional CD4+ T cell subsets could play an important role in FL pathogenesis. Based on this hypothesis, we decided to explore the CD4+ T cell compartment found in close contact with FL B cells in malignant lymph nodes and demonstrated a high frequency of follicular regulatory and follicular helper T cells with specific features. These CD4+ T cell subsets emerge as a central therapeutic target, and evaluation of the proportion of these cells would be useful to better predict the biological effect of new drugs.
Dr Michelle Linterman
The Brian Heap Seminar Room