IMMUNOLOGY: Inciting Local Reactions

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Science  10 Sep 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5690, pp. 1533b
DOI: 10.1126/science.305.5690.1533b

Most immune responses kick off within the lymph nodes and spleen, which are distal to sites of infection. In these secondary lymphoid organs, naïve B and T lymphocytes are introduced to antigens that have been delivered from the infected tissue and, once activated, they then disperse to deal with the pathogen.

Moyron-Quiroz et al. show that a distinct lymphoid tissue that forms locally at the site of infection contributes to clearing a respiratory virus. In mice engineered to lack lymph nodes and spleen (SLP mice), the appearance of activated B and T lymphocytes in response to influenza virus infection was found to be delayed but not otherwise impaired. Histological examination of lungs from these infected mice revealed sites with induced bronchus- associated lymphoid tissue (iBALT). Although the pathways leading to iBALT formation appeared distinct from those involved in the development of conventional lymphoid tissue, these sites possessed organized regions of proliferating T and B cells equivalent to those normally found in lymph nodes and spleen. Furthermore, SLP mice cleared virus efficiently and with reduced immune pathology, suggesting that iBALT may support locally efficient pathogen clearance while minimizing the global cost of a systemic immune reaction. — SJS

Nature Med. 10.1038/nm1091 (2004).

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