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PLoS Biol. 2016 Oct 11;14(10):e2000827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2000827. eCollection 2016 Oct.

The Reticular Cell Network: A Robust Backbone for Immune Responses.

Author information

1
Department of Tumor Immunology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Physiology, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada.
3
Theoretical Biology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Lymph nodes are meeting points for circulating immune cells. A network of reticular cells that ensheathe a mesh of collagen fibers crisscrosses the tissue in each lymph node. This reticular cell network distributes key molecules and provides a structure for immune cells to move around on. During infections, the network can suffer damage. A new study has now investigated the network's structure in detail, using methods from graph theory. The study showed that the network is remarkably robust to damage: it can still support immune responses even when half of the reticular cells are destroyed. This is a further important example of how network connectivity achieves tolerance to failure, a property shared with other important biological and nonbiological networks.

PMID:
27727272
PMCID:
PMC5058469
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.2000827
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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