Trekking Lymph Node Tracks

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Science  01 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5804, pp. 1357
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5804.1357a

Lymph nodes are crucial staging posts from which immune responses are launched throughout the body. To achieve this, naïve lymphocytes must locate and respond to their specific antigens, which are relatively scarce. The active migratory tendency of lymphocytes helps to achieve this, and the structural organization of the lymph node itself also improves the chances of antigen encounter. Bajenoff et al. now find that organized networks of stromal cells provide trackways for lymphocytes to travel around lymph nodes. With a combination of microscopy and real-time intravital imaging, T cells were seen to enter the lymph node paracortex by interacting with fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs). Inside the lymph node, the FRC formed a three-dimensional network along which a large proportion of T cells could crawl. Antigen-presenting dendritic cells also associated with the FRC network, which is consistent with the idea that this would optimize the rate of encounter between the two types of cell. B cells were also seen to move along the FRC tracks within the paracortex, transferring to a similar network of dendritic cells once they had entered the lymph node follicle. It will now be interesting to elucidate the molecular cues that govern migration along these cellular highways and byways. — SJS

Immunity 25 10.1016/j.immuni.2006.10.011 (2006).

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