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Sci Immunol. 2019 Mar 1;4(33). pii: eaau6085. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau6085.

Structure and function of the immune system in the spleen.

Author information

1
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
2
Department of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
3
Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.
4
Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.
5
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. stephanie.eisenbarth@yale.edu.

Abstract

The spleen is the largest secondary lymphoid organ in the body and, as such, hosts a wide range of immunologic functions alongside its roles in hematopoiesis and red blood cell clearance. The physical organization of the spleen allows it to filter blood of pathogens and abnormal cells and facilitate low-probability interactions between antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and cognate lymphocytes. APCs specific to the spleen regulate the T and B cell response to these antigenic targets in the blood. This review will focus on cell types, cell organization, and immunologic functions specific to the spleen and how these affect initiation of adaptive immunity to systemic blood-borne antigens. Potential differences in structure and function between mouse and human spleen will also be discussed.

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