Follicular shuttling of marginal zone B cells facilitates antigen transport

Nat Immunol. 2008 Jan;9(1):54-62. doi: 10.1038/ni1542. Epub 2007 Nov 25.


The splenic marginal zone is a site of blood flow, and the specialized B cell population that inhabits this compartment has been linked to the capture and follicular delivery of blood-borne antigens. However, the mechanism of this antigen transport has remained unknown. Here we show that marginal zone B cells were not confined to the marginal zone but continuously shuttled between the marginal zone and follicular areas, such that many of the cells visited a follicle every few hours. Migration to the follicle required the chemokine receptor CXCR5, whereas return to the marginal zone was promoted by the sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors S1P1 and S1P3. Treatment with an S1P1 antagonist caused displacement of marginal zone B cells from the marginal zone. Marginal zone-follicle shuttling of marginal zone B cells provides an efficient mechanism for systemic antigen capture and delivery to follicular dendritic cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / blood
  • Antigens / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Biological Transport
  • Dendritic Cells, Follicular / immunology
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Propylene Glycols / pharmacology
  • Receptors, CXCR5 / genetics
  • Receptors, CXCR5 / physiology
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid / physiology
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / pharmacology
  • Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology


  • Antigens
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Receptors, CXCR5
  • Receptors, Lysosphingolipid
  • S1pr3 protein, mouse
  • Sphingosine-1-Phosphate Receptors
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride
  • Sphingosine