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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Jan 15;145(1-2):546-50. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2011.12.011. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

Development of tertiary lymphoid structures in the kidneys of pigs with chronic leptospiral nephritis.

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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, Via Bologna 148, 10154 Torino, Italy.


Tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs) are structures that are morphologically and functionally similar to secondary lymphoid organs. TLOs usually arise in a background of chronic inflammation. Several histological patterns of interstitial nephritis have been documented in porcine leptospirosis. Among them the lympho-follicular pattern is characterized by infiltrates of mononuclear cells organized in lymphoid follicle-like structures. Immunohistological analysis of 5 cases of porcine lympho-follicular nephritis associated with Leptospira Pomona infection demonstrated the presence of inflammatory cell populations, including B cells, T cells, macrophages and follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), which were compartmentalized as in TLOs. Immunohistochemistry for Leptospira Pomona revealed an intimate association between leptospiral antigen and FDCs. Overexpression of MHCII in different populations of both professional and non-professional antigen presenting cells was also demonstrated. FDCs play role during TLOs induction for their ability to retain non-self antigens in the form of immune complexes, thus causing persistent T cell activation, generation of a complex cytokine network and stimulation of humoral immunity. Sustained bacterial antigen presentation in the context of chronic leptospiral nephritis, may also lead to autoimmune mechanisms involved in the generation of TLOs. Whether lymphoid neogenesis and TLOs play a protective role in porcine leptospiral nephritis is still unclear.

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