Histopathology of the lymph nodes

Toxicol Pathol. 2006;34(5):425-54. doi: 10.1080/01926230600964722.


Lymph nodes function as filters of tissues and tissue fluids and are sites of origin and production of lymphocytes for normal physiological functions. As part of this normal function, they react to both endogenous and exogenous substances with a variety of specific morphological and functional responses. Lesions can be both proliferative and nonproliferative, and can be treatment-related or not. The histological evaluation of lymph nodes is necessary in order to understand the immunotoxic effects of chemicals with the resulting data providing an important component of human risk assessment. It is the challenge of the toxicologic pathologist to interpret the pathology data within the complete clinical evaluation of the entire animal. Daily insults, ageing and toxins can alter the normal histology and primary function of lymph nodes. Therefore it is important to distinguish and differentiate lesions that occur naturally during normal development and ageing from those that are induced by xenobiotics. To achieve this goal, comparison with strain- age- and sex-matched controls is crucial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Rats