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J Theor Biol. 2009 Mar 7;257(1):9-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.11.007. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Scaling aspects of lymphocyte trafficking.

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  • 1Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA.


We consider the long lived pool of B and T cells that recirculate through blood, tissues and the lymphatic system of an animal with body mass M. We derive scaling rules (allometric relations) for: (1) the rate of production of mature lymphocytes, (2) the accumulation of lymphocytes in the tissues, (3) the flux of lymphocytes through the lymphatic system, (4) the number of lymph nodes, (5) the number of lymphocytes per clone within a lymph node, and (6) the total number of lymphocytes within a lymph node. Mass-dependent aspects of immune learning and of the immunological self are shown to be not very significant. Our treatment is somewhat heuristic and aims at combining immunological data with recent progress in biological scaling.

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