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J Immunol. 1998 Feb 1;160(3):1173-80.

Migration of lymphoid cells from vaginal epithelium to iliac lymph nodes in relation to vaginal infection by herpes simplex virus type 2.

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Department of Pathology, University of Sydney, Australia.


To determine whether lymphocytes and Langerhans cells in vaginal epithelium are migratory, we stained mouse vaginal epithelium, including its lymphoid cells, by intraluminal administration of H33342, a fluorescent, vital dye. Stromal staining was superficial, and no free dye reached the iliac lymph nodes. The numbers and phenotypes of H33342-stained cells that migrated from the vagina to the iliac lymph nodes during the next 48 h were determined in four groups: normal mice, mice infected intravaginally with wild-type herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), mice that were immune to vaginal HSV-2 infection, and immune mice that received vaginal challenge with HSV-2. H33342-stained cells migrated from the vaginal epithelium to the iliac lymph nodes in all groups and were mainly Thy-1.2+ cells and B220+ cells. The number of migrating Thy-1.2+ cells was similar to the sum of CD4+ and CD8+ cells in all groups and was not significantly different from the number of CD44+ cells, suggesting that most of the migrating T cells were memory cells. B lymphocytes comprised 31, 32, 43, and 68% of the migrating cells in the four groups, respectively. We found no evidence that Langerhans cells or macrophages were migrating. Thus, most MHC class II+ cells in all groups were accounted for by B cells, and migrating cells did not express B7.1 or F4/80 or exhibit indented nuclei or dendritic processes. We suggest that the migrating T cells and B cells probably belonged to a pool of lymphocytes that recirculates from blood to tissues and back to the lymph nodes via their afferent lymphatics.

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