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Nat Immunol. 2007 Sep;8(9):992-1000. Epub 2007 Jul 29.

Subcapsular encounter and complement-dependent transport of immune complexes by lymph node B cells.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


The mechanism of B cell-antigen encounter in lymphoid tissues is incompletely understood. It is also unclear how immune complexes are transported to follicular dendritic cells. Here, using real-time two-photon microscopy we noted rapid delivery of immune complexes through the lymph to macrophages in the lymph node subcapsular sinus. B cells captured immune complexes by a complement receptor-dependent mechanism from macrophage processes that penetrated the follicle and transported the complexes to follicular dendritic cells. Furthermore, cognate B cells captured antigen-containing immune complexes from macrophage processes and migrated to the T zone. Our findings identify macrophages lining the subcapsular sinus as an important site of B cell encounter with immune complexes and show that intrafollicular B cell migration facilitates the transport of immune complexes as well as encounters with cognate antigen.

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