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Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Aug;5(8):606-16.

Structure and function of the spleen.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, Vrije Universiteit Medical Center, v.d. Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The spleen combines the innate and adaptive immune system in a uniquely organized way. The structure of the spleen enables it to remove older erythrocytes from the circulation and leads to the efficient removal of blood-borne microorganisms and cellular debris. This function, in combination with a highly organized lymphoid compartment, makes the spleen the most important organ for antibacterial and antifungal immune reactivity. A better understanding of the function of this complex organ has been gained from recent studies, as outlined in this Review article.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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