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Histochem Cell Biol. 2006 Aug;126(2):261-73. Epub 2006 Feb 10.

Development, maturation and subsequent activation of follicular dendritic cells (FDC): immunohistochemical observation of human fetal and adult lymph nodes.

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Department of Pathology, Yamagata University School of Medicine, 2-2-2 Iida-Nishi, Yamagata 990-9585, Japan.


To elucidate the processes involved in development and activation of human follicular dendritic cells (FDC), immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin sections of fetal lymph nodes (FLN) obtained from archived autopsy material, and of adult reactive lymph nodes (ARLNs) excised for diagnostic purpose, using a panel of antibodies. Our study showed that tiny clusters of CNA.42(+ )KiM4p(+) cells, surrounded by some B-lymphocytes, initially arose in the cortical area of underdeveloped FLN around the 20th gestational week. No co-expression of CD21 and CD35 was found. In the relatively developed FLN of the same gestational age, small eddies of immature FDC, which expressed CD21, CD35, and nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR), as well as CNA.42 and KiM4p, were observed within ill-defined aggregations of B-lymphocytes. As gestation progressed, more B-lymphocytes assembled in a compact manner and formed primary lymphoid follicles containing an extending web of mature FDC, which expressed CNA.42, KiM4p, CD21, CD35, NGFR, and sometimes CD23 and X-11. In well-developed secondary follicles of ARLNs, activated FDC expressed additional molecules such as CD55, CD106, and S100alpha. Our observations identified the processes of phenotypic alteration of human FDC and established practical indicators determining their developmental stage and functional phase.

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