Follicular dendritic cells: origin, phenotype, and function in health and disease

Trends Immunol. 2014 Mar;35(3):105-13. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) were originally identified by their specific morphology and by their ability to trap immune-complexed antigen in B cell follicles. By virtue of the latter as well as the provision of chemokines, adhesion molecules, and trophic factors, FDCs participate in the shaping of B cell responses. Importantly, FDCs also supply tingible body macrophages (TBMs) with the eat-me-signaling molecule milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (Mfge8), thereby enabling the disposal of apoptotic B cells. Recent studies have provided fundamental insights into the multiple functions of FDCs in both physiological and pathophysiological contexts and into their origin. Here we review these findings, and discuss current concepts related to FDC histogenesis both in lymphoid organs and in inflammatory lymphoneogenesis.

Keywords: fibroblastic reticular cells; follicular dendritic cells; germinal center; lymphoid organogenesis; secondary lymphoid organs; tertiary lymphoid tissues.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Cells, Follicular / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells, Follicular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype