Secondary Lymphoid Organs

Various types of organized lymphoid tissues are located along the vessels of the lymphatic system. Some lymphoid tissue in the lung and lamina propria of the intestinal wall consists of diffuse collections of lymphocytes and macrophages. Other lymphoid tissue is organized into structures called lymphoid follicles, which consist of aggregates of lym-phoid and nonlymphoid cells surrounded by a network of draining lymphatic capillaries. Until it is activated by antigen, a lymphoid follicle—called a primary follicle—comprises a network of follicular dendritic cells and small resting B cells. After an antigenic challenge, a primary follicle becomes a larger secondary follicle—a ring of concentrically packed B lymphocytes surrounding a center (the germinal center) in which one finds a focus of proliferating B lymphocytes and an area that contains nondividing B cells, and some helper T cells interspersed with macrophages and follicular dendritic cells (Figure 2-17).

Most antigen-activated B cells divide and differentiate into antibody-producing plasma cells in lymphoid follicles, but only a few B cells in the antigen-activated population find their way into germinal centers. Those that do undergo one or more rounds of cell division, during which the genes that encode their antibodies mutate at an unusually high rate. Following the period of division and mutation, there is a rigorous selection process in which more than 90% of these B cells die by apoptosis. In general, those B cells producing antibodies that bind antigen more strongly have a much better chance of surviving than do their weaker companions. The small number of B cells that survive the germinal center's rigorous selection differentiate into plasma cells or memory

Germinal Center

FIGURE 2-17

A secondary lymphoid follicle consisting of a large germinal center (gc) surrounded by a dense mantle (m) of small lymphocytes. [From W. Bloom and D. W. Fawcett, 1975, Textbook of Histology, 10th ed, © 1975 by W. B. Saunders Co.]

FIGURE 2-17

A secondary lymphoid follicle consisting of a large germinal center (gc) surrounded by a dense mantle (m) of small lymphocytes. [From W. Bloom and D. W. Fawcett, 1975, Textbook of Histology, 10th ed, © 1975 by W. B. Saunders Co.]

cells and emerge. The process of B-cell proliferation, mutation, and selection in germinal centers is described more fully in Chapter 11.

Lymph nodes and the spleen are the most highly organized of the secondary lymphoid organs; they comprise not only lymphoid follicles, but additional distinct regions of T-cell and B-cell activity, and they are surrounded by a fibrous capsule. Less-organized lymphoid tissue, collectively called mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), is found in various body sites. MALT includes Peyer's patches (in the small intestine), the tonsils, and the appendix, as well as numerous lymphoid follicles within the lamina propria of the intestines and in the mucous membranes lining the upper airways, bronchi, and genital tract.

LYMPH NODES

Lymph nodes are the sites where immune responses are mounted to antigens in lymph. They are encapsulated bean-shaped structures containing a reticular network packed with lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Clustered at junctions of the lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes are the first organized lymphoid structure to encounter antigens that enter the tissue spaces. As lymph percolates through a node, any particulate antigen that is brought in with the lymph will be trapped by the cellular network of phagocytic cells and dendritic cells (follicular and interdigitating). The overall architecture of a lymph node supports an ideal microenvironment for lymphocytes to effectively encounter and respond to trapped antigens.

Morphologically, a lymph node can be divided into three roughly concentric regions: the cortex, the paracortex, and the medulla, each of which supports a distinct microenvironment (Figure 2-18). The outermost layer, the cortex, contains lymphocytes (mostly B cells), macro-phages, and follicular dendritic cells arranged in primary follicles. After antigenic challenge, the primary follicles enlarge into secondary follicles, each containing a germinal center. In children with B-cell deficiencies, the cortex lacks primary follicles and germinal centers. Beneath the cortex is the paracortex, which is populated largely by T lymphocytes and also contains interdigitat-ing dendritic cells thought to have migrated from tissues to the node. These interdigitating dendritic cells express high levels of class II MHC molecules, which are necessary for presenting antigen to TH cells. Lymph nodes taken from neona-tally thymectomized mice have unusually few cells in the paracortical region; the paracortex is therefore sometimes referred to as a thymus-dependent area in contrast to the cortex, which is a thymus-independent area. The innermost layer of a lymph node, the medulla, is more sparsely populated with lymphoid-lineage cells; of those present, many are plasma cells actively secreting antibody molecules.

As antigen is carried into a regional node by the lymph, it is trapped, processed, and presented together with class II MHC molecules by interdigitating dendritic cells in the para-cortex, resulting in the activation of TH cells. The initial activation of B cells is also thought to take place within the T-cell-rich paracortex. Once activated, TH and B cells form small foci consisting largely of proliferating B cells at the edges of the paracortex. Some B cells within the foci differentiate into plasma cells secreting IgM and IgG. These foci reach maximum size within 4-6 days of antigen challenge. Within 4-7 days of antigen challenge, a few B cells and TH cells migrate to the primary follicles of the cortex. It is not known what causes this migration. Within a primary follicle, cellular interactions between follicular dendritic cells, B cells, and TH cells take place, leading to development of a secondary follicle with a central germinal center. Some of the plasma cells generated in the germinal center move to the medullary areas of the lymph node, and many migrate to bone marrow.

Afferent lymphatic vessels pierce the capsule of a lymph node at numerous sites and empty lymph into the subcapsu-lar sinus (see Figure 2-18b). Lymph coming from the tissues percolates slowly inward through the cortex, paracortex, and medulla, allowing phagocytic cells and dendritic cells to trap any bacteria or particulate material (e.g., antigen-antibody complexes) carried by the lymph. After infection or the

Germinal centers

Postcapillary venule

Postcapillary venule

Lymph Paracortex

Capsule

Germinal centers

B lymphocytes

Efferent lymphatic vessel

FIGURE 2-18

Structure of a lymph node. (a) The three layers of a lymph node support distinct microenvironments. (b) The left side depicts the arrangement of reticulum and lymphocytes within the various regions of a lymph node. Macrophages and dendritic cells, which trap antigen, are present in the cortex and paracortex. TH cells are concentrated in the paracortex; B cells are located primarily in the cortex, within follicles and germinal centers. The medulla is popu lated largely by antibody-producing plasma cells. Lymphocytes circulating in the lymph are carried into the node by afferent lymphatic vessels; they either enter the reticular matrix of the node or pass through it and leave by the efferent lymphatic vessel. The right side of (b) depicts the lymphatic artery and vein and the postcapillary venules. Lymphocytes in the circulation can pass into the node from the postcapillary venules by a process called extravasation (inset).

Capsule

Cross section post-capillary venule

B lymphocytes

Lymphatic artery

Lymphatic vein

Efferent lymphatic vessel

FIGURE 2-18

Structure of a lymph node. (a) The three layers of a lymph node support distinct microenvironments. (b) The left side depicts the arrangement of reticulum and lymphocytes within the various regions of a lymph node. Macrophages and dendritic cells, which trap antigen, are present in the cortex and paracortex. TH cells are concentrated in the paracortex; B cells are located primarily in the cortex, within follicles and germinal centers. The medulla is popu lated largely by antibody-producing plasma cells. Lymphocytes circulating in the lymph are carried into the node by afferent lymphatic vessels; they either enter the reticular matrix of the node or pass through it and leave by the efferent lymphatic vessel. The right side of (b) depicts the lymphatic artery and vein and the postcapillary venules. Lymphocytes in the circulation can pass into the node from the postcapillary venules by a process called extravasation (inset).

introduction of other antigens into the body, the lymph leaving a node through its single efferent lymphatic vessel is enriched with antibodies newly secreted by medullary plasma cells and also has a fiftyfold higher concentration of lymphocytes than the afferent lymph.

The increase in lymphocytes in lymph leaving a node is due in part to lymphocyte proliferation within the node in response to antigen. Most of the increase, however, represents blood-borne lymphocytes that migrate into the node by passing between specialized endothelial cells that line the postcapillary venules of the node. Estimates are that 25% of the lymphocytes leaving a lymph node have migrated across this endothelial layer and entered the node from the blood. Because antigenic stimulation within a node can increase this migration tenfold, the concentration of lymphocytes in a node that is actively responding can increase greatly, and the node swells visibly. Factors released in lymph nodes during antigen stimulation are thought to facilitate this increased migration.

SPLEEN

The spleen plays a major role in mounting immune responses to antigens in the blood stream. It is a large, ovoid secondary lymphoid organ situated high in the left abdominal cavity. While lymph nodes are specialized for trapping antigen from local tissues, the spleen specializes in filtering blood and trapping blood-borne antigens; thus, it can respond to systemic infections. Unlike the lymph nodes, the spleen is not supplied by lymphatic vessels. Instead, blood-borne antigens and lymphocytes are carried into the spleen through the splenic artery. Experiments with radioactively labeled lymphocytes show that more recirculating lymphocytes pass daily through the spleen than through all the lymph nodes combined.

The spleen is surrounded by a capsule that extends a number of projections (trabeculae) into the interior to form a compartmentalized structure. The compartments are of two types, the red pulp and white pulp, which are separated by a diffuse marginal zone (Figure 2-19). The splenic red pulp consists of a network of sinusoids populated by macrophages and numerous red blood cells (erythrocytes) and few lymphocytes; it is the site where old and defective red blood cells are destroyed and removed. Many of the macrophages within the red pulp contain engulfed red blood cells or iron pigments from degraded hemoglobin. The splenic white pulp surrounds the branches of the splenic artery, forming a periarte-riolar lymphoid sheath (PALS) populated mainly by T lymphocytes. Primary lymphoid follicles are attached to the

Structure The Splenic VeinSpleen Structure

FIGURE 2-19

Structure of the spleen. (a) The spleen, which is about 5 inches long in adults, is the largest secondary lymphoid organ. It is specialized for trapping blood-borne antigens. (b) Diagrammatic cross section of the spleen. The splenic artery pierces the capsule and divides into progressively smaller arterioles, ending in vascular sinusoids that drain back into the splenic vein. The erythro-

cyte-filled red pulp surrounds the sinusoids. The white pulp forms a sleeve, the periarteriolar lymphoid sheath (PALS), around the arterioles; this sheath contains numerous T cells. Closely associated with the PALS is the marginal zone, an area rich in B cells that contains lymphoid follicles that can develop into secondary follicles containing germinal centers.

FIGURE 2-19

Structure of the spleen. (a) The spleen, which is about 5 inches long in adults, is the largest secondary lymphoid organ. It is specialized for trapping blood-borne antigens. (b) Diagrammatic cross section of the spleen. The splenic artery pierces the capsule and divides into progressively smaller arterioles, ending in vascular sinusoids that drain back into the splenic vein. The erythro-

cyte-filled red pulp surrounds the sinusoids. The white pulp forms a sleeve, the periarteriolar lymphoid sheath (PALS), around the arterioles; this sheath contains numerous T cells. Closely associated with the PALS is the marginal zone, an area rich in B cells that contains lymphoid follicles that can develop into secondary follicles containing germinal centers.

PALS. These follicles are rich in B cells and some of them contain germinal centers. The marginal zone, located peripheral to the PALS, is populated by lymphocytes and macrophages.

Blood-borne antigens and lymphocytes enter the spleen through the splenic artery, which empties into the marginal zone. In the marginal zone, antigen is trapped by interdigi-tating dendritic cells, which carry it to the PALS. Lymphocytes in the blood also enter sinuses in the marginal zone and migrate to the PALS.

The initial activation of B and T cells takes place in the T-cell-rich PALS. Here interdigitating dendritic cells capture antigen and present it combined with class II MHC molecules to TH cells. Once activated, these TH cells can then activate B cells. The activated B cells, together with some TH cells, then migrate to primary follicles in the marginal zone. Upon antigenic challenge, these primary follicles develop into characteristic secondary follicles containing germinal centers (like those in the lymph nodes), where rapidly dividing B cells (centroblasts) and plasma cells are surrounded by dense clusters of concentrically arranged lymphocytes.

The effects of splenectomy on the immune response depends on the age at which the spleen is removed. In children, splenectomy often leads to an increased incidence of bacterial sepsis caused primarily by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, and Haemophilus influenzae. Splenectomy in adults has less adverse effects, although it leads to some increase in blood-borne bacterial infections (bacteremia).

MUCOSAL-ASSOCIATED LYMPHOID TISSUE

The mucous membranes lining the digestive, respiratory, and urogenital systems have a combined surface area of about

400 m2 (nearly the size of a basketball court) and are the major sites of entry for most pathogens. These vulnerable membrane surfaces are defended by a group of organized lymphoid tissues mentioned earlier and known collectively as mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT). Structurally, these tissues range from loose, barely organized clusters of lymphoid cells in the lamina propria of intestinal villi to well-organized structures such as the familiar tonsils and appendix, as well as Peyer's patches, which are found within the submucosal layer of the intestinal lining. The functional importance of MALT in the body's defense is attested to by its large population of antibody-producing plasma cells, whose number far exceeds that of plasma cells in the spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow combined.

The tonsils are found in three locations: lingual at the base of the tongue; palatine at the sides of the back of the mouth; and pharyngeal (adenoids) in the roof of the nasopharynx (Figure 2-20). All three tonsil groups are nodular structures consisting of a meshwork of reticular cells and fibers interspersed with lymphocytes, macrophages, granulo-cytes, and mast cells. The B cells are organized into follicles and germinal centers; the latter are surrounded by regions showing T-cell activity. The tonsils defend against antigens entering through the nasal and oral epithelial routes.

The best studied of the mucous membranes is the one that lines the gastrointestinal tract. This tissue, like that of the respiratory and urogenital tracts, has the capacity to endocytose antigen from the lumen. Immune reactions are initiated against pathogens and antibody can be generated and exported to the lumen to combat the invading organisms. As shown in Figures 2-21 and 2-22, lymphoid cells are found in various regions within this tissue. The outer mucosal epithe-

Secondary Lymphoid Organs Malt

J Three types of tonsils. (a) The position and internal features of the palatine and lingual tonsils; (b) a view of the position of the nasopharyngeal tonsils (adenoids). [Part b adapted from

FIGURE 2-20

J. Klein, 1982, Immunology, The Science of Self-Nonself Discrimination, © 1982 by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.]

J Three types of tonsils. (a) The position and internal features of the palatine and lingual tonsils; (b) a view of the position of the nasopharyngeal tonsils (adenoids). [Part b adapted from

FIGURE 2-20

J. Klein, 1982, Immunology, The Science of Self-Nonself Discrimination, © 1982 by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.]

Follicle

Intestinal lumen Inductive site

Villi

Follicle

Intestinal lumen Inductive site

Villi

Villi Diagram

Primary follicle

FIGURE 2-21

Peyer' s patch

Muscle layer

Germinal center

Cross-sectional diagram of the mucous membrane lining the intestine showing a nodule of lymphoid follicles that constitutes a Peyer's patch in the submucosa. The intestinal lamina propria contains loose clusters of lymphoid cells and diffuse follicles.

Primary follicle

FIGURE 2-21

Peyer' s patch

Muscle layer

Germinal center

Cross-sectional diagram of the mucous membrane lining the intestine showing a nodule of lymphoid follicles that constitutes a Peyer's patch in the submucosa. The intestinal lamina propria contains loose clusters of lymphoid cells and diffuse follicles.

lial layer contains so-called intraepithelial lymphocytes

(IELs). Many of these lymphocytes are T cells that express unusual receptors (7§T-cell receptors, or 78 TCRs), which exhibit limited diversity for antigen. Although this population of T cells is well situated to encounter antigens that enter through the intestinal mucous epithelium, their actual function remains largely unknown The lamina propria, which lies under the epithelial layer, contains large numbers of B cells, plasma cells, activated TH cells, and macrophages in loose clusters. Histologic sections have revealed more than 15,000 lymphoid follicles within the intestinal lamina propria of a healthy child. The submucosal layer beneath the lamina propria contains Peyer's patches, nodules of 30-40 lymphoid follicles. Like lymphoid follicles in other sites, those that compose Peyer's patches can develop into secondary follicles with germinal centers.

The epithelial cells of mucous membranes play an important role in promoting the immune response by delivering small samples of foreign antigen from the lumina of the respiratory, digestive, and urogenital tracts to the underlying mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue. This antigen transport is carried out by specialized M cells. The structure of the M cell is striking: these are flattened epithelial cells lacking the microvilli that characterize the rest of the mucous epithelium. In addition, M cells have a deep invagination, or pocket, in the basolateral plasma membrane; this pocket is filled with a cluster of B cells, T cells, and macrophages (Figure 2-22a). Luminal antigens are endocytosed into vesicles that are transported from the luminal membrane to the underlying pocket membrane. The vesicles then fuse with the pocket membrane, delivering the potentially response-activating antigens to the clusters of lymphocytes contained within the pocket.

M cells are located in so-called inductive sites—small regions of a mucous membrane that lie over organized lymphoid follicles (Figure 2-22b). Antigens transported across the mucous membrane by M cells can activate B cells within

Peyer Patch Cell

FIGURE 2-22

Structure of M cells and production of IgA at inductive sites. (a) M cells, located in mucous membranes, endocytose antigen from the lumen of the digestive, respiratory, and urogenital tracts. The antigen is transported across the cell and released into the large basolateral pocket. (b) Antigen transported across the epithelial layer by M cells at an inductive site activates B cells in the underlying

Orexin Sepsis

FIGURE 2-22

Structure of M cells and production of IgA at inductive sites. (a) M cells, located in mucous membranes, endocytose antigen from the lumen of the digestive, respiratory, and urogenital tracts. The antigen is transported across the cell and released into the large basolateral pocket. (b) Antigen transported across the epithelial layer by M cells at an inductive site activates B cells in the underlying lymphoid follicles. The activated B cells differentiate into IgA-pro-ducing plasma cells, which migrate along the submucosa. The outer mucosal epithelial layer contains intraepithelial lymphocytes, of which many are CD8+ T cells that express 78 TCRs with limited receptor diversity for antigen.

these lymphoid follicles. The activated B cells differentiate into plasma cells, which leave the follicles and secrete the IgA class of antibodies. These antibodies then are transported across the epithelial cells and released as secretory IgA into the lumen, where they can interact with antigens.

As described in Chapter 1, mucous membranes are an effective barrier to the entrance of most pathogens, which thereby contributes to nonspecific immunity. One reason for this is that the mucosal epithelial cells are cemented to one another by tight junctions that make it difficult for pathogens to penetrate. Interestingly, some enteric pathogens, including both bacteria and viruses, have exploited the M cell as an entry route through the mucous-membrane barrier. In some cases, the pathogen is internalized by the M cell and transported into the pocket. In other cases, the pathogen binds to the M cell and disrupts the cell, thus allowing entry of the pathogen. Among the pathogens that use M cells in these ways are several invasive Salmonella species, Vibrio cholerae, and the polio virus.

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Responses

  • Kane
    Where are macrophages located in germinal center?
    5 years ago
  • moro brownlock
    Is sinusoids a secondary lymphoid structures?
    5 years ago
  • nicoletta marchesi
    Which is the secondary lymphoid organ that protect the body from bloodborne pathogens?
    5 years ago
  • negassi
    Which is the secondary lymphoid organ that protects the body from bloodborne pathogens?
    5 years ago
  • marmadoc
    What are the image structure of spleed?
    1 year ago
  • Mauro
    Which is the largest secondary lymphoid organ?
    8 months ago

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