Human spleen contains phenotypic subsets of macrophages and dendritic cells that occupy discrete microanatomic locations.
Macrophages (M phi s) are an important component of the immune response and mediate numerous other functions. Phenotypic and functional subsets of circulating monocytes have been described, but few similar studies have analyzed M phi s in human tissues. By use of immunohistochemical techniques and a large number of monoclonal antibodies, the presence and distribution of phenotypic subpopulations of M phi s and dendritic cells in human spleen were assessed. The results of this study show that different subsets of M phi s and dendritic cells are present in the spleen and that some of these occupy discrete microanatomic locations. In the red pulp (RP) certain groups of antigens are expressed by different proportions of uniformly distributed M phi s in the cords. On the other hand, some antigens are present on M phi s that form clusters of variable size within the red pulp. M phi s in the splenic marginal zone (MZ) share some antigens with red pulp M phi s, but in addition express CR3, Mo-2, 61D3, and 63D3. These antigens are found on only a few RP M phi s. MZ cells expressing one antigen shared with RP M phi s (Leu-3a,b) and one present largely on the MZ cells (63D3) form clusters around small vessels; these structures resemble the so-called splenic ellipsoids that may play a role in the trapping of circulating antigens. Phagocytic M phi s (tingible body M phi s) of the white pulp follicular germinal centers were also shown to differ from RP and MZ cels with respect to the expression of the antigens detected by anti-FcR, Leu-M3, Mo-2, 25F9, and anti-CR3. The unique topographical and surface antigenic features of dendritic cells were confirmed by this study. Furthermore, these cells were found to share a number of antigens with RP, MZ, and white pulp M phi s, which suggests that they may be derived from a common progenitor. The presence of phenotypic subpopulations and variation in distribution among human splenic phagocytic cells and dendritic cells may be indicative of functional specialization.
Buckley, PJ; Smith, MR; Braverman, MF; Dickson, SA
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