Human follicular dendritic cells: function, origin and development

Semin Immunol. 2002 Aug;14(4):251-7. doi: 10.1016/s1044-5323(02)00057-x.


Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) have important functions in the selection of memory B lymphocytes during germinal center reactions (GCR). They present native antigens to potential memory cells, of which only B cells with high affinity B cell receptors (BCR) can bind. These B lymphocytes survive, whereas nonbinding B cells undergo apoptotic cell death. FDCs are present in follicles of any secondary lymphoid organ and belong to the stromal cells of these organs. Ectopic FDC-formation can be found in a number of autoimmune diseases and/or chronic inflammatory situations. This indicates that the development of FDCs is not restricted to secondary lymphoid organs, but that it is rather a matter of local conditions that drives a precursor cell type into FDC-maturation. A precursor of FDCs has presently not been identified, but phenotypic marker studies, in vitro experiments with fibroblast-like cell lines, and recent data on mesenchymal precursor cells from the peripheral blood suggest a close relation to fibroblast-like cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Dendritic Cells, Follicular / immunology*
  • Germinal Center / cytology*
  • Germinal Center / immunology
  • Humans