Structure and function of the spleen

Reina E Mebius, Georg Kraal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1590 Citations (Scopus)


The spleen combines the innate and adaptive immune system in a uniquely organized way. The structure of the spleen enables it to remove older erythrocytes from the circulation and leads to the efficient removal of blood-borne microorganisms and cellular debris. This function, in combination with a highly organized lymphoid compartment, makes the spleen the most important organ for antibacterial and antifungal immune reactivity. A better understanding of the function of this complex organ has been gained from recent studies, as outlined in this Review article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-616
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Active
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Spleen/anatomy & histology

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