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Immunology. 1989 Oct;68(2):227-32.

Lymphocyte migration in the spleen: the effect of macrophage elimination.

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Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


To study the influence of macrophages on the migration and distribution of lymphocytes in the spleen, macrophages were eliminated from the spleen of mice by injection of liposomes in which DMDP was encapsulated. This leads to an elimination of macrophages in both the red pulp and marginal zone of the spleen within 1-2 days. In these animals the distribution of lymphocytes was determined by transfer of either syngeneic fluoresceinated or Ly 5 congeneic cells. It was found that after elimination of the macrophages the number of lymphocytes immigrating into the spleen had decreased, although a comparable mode of compartimentalization was found with an initial localization in the marginal zone and a subsequent distribution into the white pulp. After this elimination spleen macrophage subsets return with different kinetics, and in this way the influence of the red pulp macrophages, the marginal zone macrophages and the marginal metallophilic macrophages on lymphocyte immigration and redistribution could be investigated. A quantitative decrease of immigration was still found when red pulp and marginal metallophilic macrophages had repopulated their compartments, but was only fully restored when the last population to repopulate the spleen after treatment with DMDP-liposomes, the marginal zone macrophages, had returned. Experiments with isolated T and B cells showed that the elimination of macrophages had a profound effect on the localization of B cells in the white pulp, whereas it hardly affected T cells.

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