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J Exp Med. 1998 Apr 6;187(7):997-1007.

The sequential role of lymphotoxin and B cells in the development of splenic follicles.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire 03756, USA.


The transfer of lymphocytes into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice induces a series of histological changes in the spleen, including the appearance of mature follicular dendritic cells (FDCs). Studies were undertaken to clarify the role of lymphotoxin (LT) in this process. The results show that SCID mice have a small and partially differentiated white pulp containing marginal zone and interdigitating dendritic cells, but lacking FDCs. Transferred spleen cells can segregate into T and B cell areas shortly after their injection to SCID mice. This ability is dependent on signaling through LT-beta receptor (LT-betaR), since blocking ligand-receptor interaction in recipient SCID mice ablates the capacity of the transferred cells to segregate. A week after lymphocyte transfer, host-derived FDCs appeared in the reconstituted SCID mice. This induction of FDCs is dependent on LT-betaR signaling by B cells since LT-alpha-/- B cells are incapable of inducing development of FDCs in SCID mice, even after cotransfer of LT-alpha+/+ T cells. Therefore, LT plays at least two discrete roles in splenic organization. First, it appears that LT induces the differentiation of the white pulp to create sites for lymphocyte segregation. Second, LT expression by B cells drives the maturation of FDCs and the organization of B cell follicles.

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