Structure and function of the immune system in the spleen

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Science Immunology  01 Mar 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 33, eaau6085
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau6085


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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