Isolation of the intact white pulp. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the cellular composition of the splenic compartments

M A Nolte, E N Hoen, A van Stijn, G Kraal, R E Mebius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The spleen is anatomically and functionally divided into two compartments: the red pulp, where particles are effectively removed from the blood, and the white pulp, where specific immune responses are generated. Here the isolation of white pulp from red pulp is described, allowing a detailed analysis of the cellular components of both red and white pulp separately. A striking abundance of memory T cells was found in the white and red pulp with an overall ratio of T and B cells in the white pulp being similar to that in lymph nodes. Both NK and gamma delta T cells can be found in white pulp and lymph nodes, but granulocytes are absent. The distribution of dendritic cell subsets showed significant differences between white pulp and lymph nodes. Furthermore, short-term homing experiments showed that migration of lymphocytes into the white pulp greatly exceeded that into lymph nodes, with significant differences in migration of various lymphocytes subsets. This suggests a different migration and retention mechanism in the white pulp. This new isolation technique will allow further analysis of the functional capacities of the splenic compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-34
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Separation
  • Female
  • Immunity
  • Lymphocytes/cytology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Spleen/cytology

Cite this