Lymph Node Structure

Novica M. Milićević*, Jürgen Westermann

*Corresponding author for this work


Lymph nodes are the sentinels of the immune system that control the surfaces of the body to the outside (skin, lung, gut) and the tissues, whereas the spleen monitors the inside surface (vasculature) and the blood. Lymph nodes are both matchmakers and copy shops. They are matchmakers because they bring together antigens with antigen-specific B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. This is a major challenge since antigens can enter and develop at any site of the body while the average frequency of antigen-specific B cells and T cells is in the range of only 1 in 100. 000. Lymph nodes solve this problem by concentrating antigen-containing lymph and attracting huge numbers of B cells and T cells from the blood. Lymph nodes are copy shops because they provide a microenvironment that facilitates an enormous expansion of B cells and T cells bearing receptors specifically directed against the cognate antigen. Due to their huge number, these antigen-specific B cells and T cells are now able to successfully protect the body. This article describes the anatomical structures allowing the lymph node to be a matchmaker and a copy shop.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActivation of the Immune System
Number of pages7
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Publication date27.04.2016
ISBN (Print)9780080921525
Publication statusPublished - 27.04.2016

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Center for Population Medicine and Public Health (ZBV)


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