In Vivo Localisation Patterns and Cell-Cell Interactions of Cytokine Producing T-Cells and Specific Antibody Forming B-Cells
Because of its central position in the bloodstream and the large amount of migrating lymphocytes, the spleen plays a central role in the primary defense against bloodstream infections. Two critical functions of the spleen can be recognized: it serves as a large phagocytic filter and it is a major antibody producing organ1. Although the spleen participates significantly in host defense mechanisms, it is not essential for life. Nevertheless, its removal increases the risk on overwhelming infections by bacteria with polysaccharide capsules, e.g. Streptococcus pneumonia, Neisseria meningitidis orHaemo-philus influenza 2. After primary i.v. immunization, the spleen is the major site of antibody production3. Since eight times more lymphocytes recirculate via the spleen than via all lymph nodes together4, it is most likely that the entire antigen-specific B- T-cell repertoire is available in the spleen. The complex anatomical organization of the spleen with distinct compartments containing specialized cell types provides a unique micro-environment allowing cell-cell interactions which are essential for the initiation and continuation of various immune responses5 (fig. 1). To fully understand the role of the spleen in the immune response it is obviously necessary to look at this organ in a functional in vivo way. This means that one should switch from conventional phenotyping of immunocompetent cells to a more functional characterisation (e.g. resting vs activated). In looking at B-cells one should for example clearly separate membrane-Ig positive, memory and plasma cells. The latter group can be further subdivided by looking at the antigen specificity of the produced antibodies. For this purpose we developed new methodology for the detection of antigen specific antibody forming B-cells (AFCs) in tissue sections. By double staining we could also simultaneously determine the isotype of these AFCs (reviewed in: 6).
KeywordsMarginal Zone Neisseria Meningitidis Bacille Calmette Guerin Murine Spleen Terminal Arteriole
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