Stromal cells in chronic inflammation and tertiary lymphoid organ formation

Annu Rev Immunol. 2015;33:715-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-032713-120252.


Inflammation is an unstable state. It either resolves or persists. Why inflammation persists and the factors that define tissue tropism remain obscure. Increasing evidence suggests that tissue-resident stromal cells not only provide positional memory but also actively regulate the differential accumulation of inflammatory cells within inflamed tissues. Furthermore, at many sites of chronic inflammation, structures that mimic secondary lymphoid tissues are observed, suggesting that chronic inflammation and lymphoid tissue formation share common activation programs. Similarly, blood and lymphatic endothelial cells contribute to tissue homeostasis and disease persistence in chronic inflammation. This review highlights our increasing understanding of the role of stromal cells in inflammation and summarizes the novel immunological role that stromal cells exert in the persistence of inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: chronic inflammation; fibroblast; persistence; stromal cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism*
  • Organogenesis / immunology
  • Phenotype
  • Stromal Cells / immunology*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism*