The spleen is the main filter for blood-borne pathogens and antigens, as well as a key organ for iron metabolism and erythrocyte homeostasis. Also, immune and hematopoietic functions have been recently unveiled for the mouse spleen, suggesting additional roles for this secondary lymphoid organ. Here we discuss the integration of the spleen in the regulation of immune responses locally and in the whole body and present the relevance of findings for our understanding of inflammatory and degenerative diseases and their treatments. We consider whether equivalent activities in humans are known, as well as initial therapeutic attempts to target the spleen for modulating innate and adaptive immunity.
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