B cell acquisition of antigen in vivo

Curr Opin Immunol. 2009 Jun;21(3):251-7. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2009.05.013. Epub 2009 Jun 8.


The fate of B lymphocytes is dictated in large part by cognate antigen and the environment in which it is encountered. Yet we are only now beginning to understand where and how B cells acquire antigen. Recent studies identify multiple pathways by which lymph-borne antigens enter the B cell follicles of LNs. Size is a major factor as particulate antigens and large IC are bound by subcapsular sinus macrophages. By contrast, small antigens (under 70kDa) are rapidly channeled into follicles via conduits secreted by fibroblastic reticular cells (FRC). Interestingly, the conduits not only deliver antigen to follicular dendritic cells (FDC) but also provide a rich source of B cell chemokine, that is, CXCL-13. Thus, the follicular conduits provide an 'antigen highway' for B cells trafficking within the LN. These new findings provide an important discovery in understanding how B cells acquire cognate antigen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigens / immunology*
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Biological Transport / immunology
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Immunological


  • Antigens