Subcapsular encounter and complement-dependent transport of immune complexes by lymph node B cells

Nat Immunol. 2007 Sep;8(9):992-1000. doi: 10.1038/ni1494. Epub 2007 Jul 29.


The mechanism of B cell-antigen encounter in lymphoid tissues is incompletely understood. It is also unclear how immune complexes are transported to follicular dendritic cells. Here, using real-time two-photon microscopy we noted rapid delivery of immune complexes through the lymph to macrophages in the lymph node subcapsular sinus. B cells captured immune complexes by a complement receptor-dependent mechanism from macrophage processes that penetrated the follicle and transported the complexes to follicular dendritic cells. Furthermore, cognate B cells captured antigen-containing immune complexes from macrophage processes and migrated to the T zone. Our findings identify macrophages lining the subcapsular sinus as an important site of B cell encounter with immune complexes and show that intrafollicular B cell migration facilitates the transport of immune complexes as well as encounters with cognate antigen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells, Follicular / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology*
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Phycoerythrin / immunology
  • Receptors, Complement / immunology


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Receptors, Complement
  • Phycoerythrin
  • Complement System Proteins