Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Thomas J. Waldschmidt


Protection from influenza A virus (IAV) challenge requires switched, high affinity Abs derived from long-lived memory B cells and plasma cells. These subsets are generated in germinal centers (GCs), hallmark structures of T helper cell-driven B cell immunity. A full understanding of the acute and persistent GC B cell reaction following respiratory IAV infection is lacking, as is the characterization of IAV-induced T follicular helper (TFH) cells that support GCs. Additionally, it remains unclear as to whether IAV-induced GC B cells are subject to control by regulatory T cells (Tregs). To address this, GC B cell and TFH cell responses were analyzed in mice following pulmonary challenge with IAV. Studies demonstrated that marked GC reactions were induced in lung-draining lymph nodes (dLNs), lung, spleen and nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT), although the magnitude, kinetics, and isotype switching patterns of the response was site-specific, and largely depended on the magnitude of IAV-induced TFH cell populations. TFH cell magnitude peaked prior to that of GC B cells in all tissues, and TFH cells purified from dLNs generated IL-21 and IFN-gamma upon activation, although CD4+CXCR5- T effector cells produced higher levels of all cytokines. IgA+ GC B cells were infrequent in most sites, but composed a significant subset of the switched GC population in NALT. Further, splenectomized mice withstood a lethal recall challenge, suggesting the spleen to be unnecessary for long-term protection. Additionally, GC B cell populations were analyzed at distal time points to assess the understudied, persistent GC B cell response after IAV infection. Our analysis demonstrated that persistent GC B cell populations in mouse lungs directly correlated with infectious dose, pathogenicity of the virus, as well as the presence of long-term CD4+ T cell help. Finally, experiments showed that Tregs contribute to the control of GCs induced in the spleen by IAV challenge. This was demonstrated by a marked increase in the number of total and switched GC B cell numbers when Tregs were either depleted or disrupted in vivo proximal to IAV exposure.


B Cell, GC, Germinal Center, Influenza Virus, TFH, T Follicular Helper Cell


xvi, 187 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 165-187).


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Copyright 2012 Alexander Boyden