B cells acquire particulate antigen in a macrophage-rich area at the boundary between the follicle and the subcapsular sinus of the lymph node

Immunity. 2007 Jul;27(1):160-71. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2007.06.007. Epub 2007 Jul 19.


Adaptive B cell responses are initiated by B cell receptor-antigen engagement. Despite its importance, the early stages of B cell interaction with antigen in vivo remain elusive. Using fluorescent particulate antigen in combination with multiphoton microscopy and immune staining, we identified the follicle-subcapsular sinus (SCS) boundary of the lymph node as a site for B cell-antigen acquisition. In this macrophage-rich region, antigen accumulated shortly after administration, where specific follicular B cells were retained for long periods of time. These B cells acquired antigen cumulatively and became the main antigen carriers inside the follicle before polarizing to the B cell-T cell border. These observations not only provide evidence of a B cell role as antigen transporters into the follicle, but also highlight the boundary between the follicle and the SCS as a site for initiation of B cell responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Lymph Nodes / anatomy & histology*
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence, Multiphoton
  • Particle Size
  • Protein Transport / immunology


  • Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte