Germinal centers (GCs) are transient anatomical microenvironments where antibody affinity maturation and memory B cells generation takes place. In the past, models of Germinal Center (GC) dynamics have focused on understanding antibody affinity maturation rather than on the main mechanism(s) driving their rise-and-fall dynamics. Here, based on a population dynamics model core, we compare three mechanisms potentially responsible for this GC biphasic behavior dependent on follicular dendritic cell (FDC) maturation, follicular T helper (Tfh) cell maturation, and antigen depletion. Analyzing the kinetics of B and T cells, as well as its parameter sensitivities, we found that only the FDC-maturation-based model could describe realistic GC dynamics, whereas the simple Tfh-maturation and antigen-depletion mechanisms, as implemented here, could not. We also found that in all models the processes directly related to Tfh cell kinetics have the highest impact on GC dynamics. This suggests the existence of some still unknown mechanism(s) tuning GC dynamics by affecting Tfh cell response to proliferation-inducing stimuli.
Faro, J., von Haeften, B., Gardner, R., & Faro, E. (2019). A sensitivity analysis comparison of three models for the dynamics of germinal centers. Frontiers in Immunology, 10(AUG). https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02038