The functional activity of high endothelial venules: a role for the subcapsular sinus macrophages in the lymph node

R E Mebius, J Bauer, A J Twisk, J Brevé, G Kraal

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Adherence of lymphocytes to high endothelial venules (HEV3) is the first step in normal lymphocyte emigration and recirculation. At sites of chronic inflammation, venules often become high-walled and may also be a site for leukocytes to leave the bloodstream. The immunologic and inflammatory mediators, responsible for these effects on endothelial cells, may be important for the maintenance and function of HEV in physiological conditions. It is reported here that the morphological and functional aspects of HEV can be studied by organ cultures of lymph nodes (LN). At 24 h of culture, the appearance of the node was still quite normal, whereas the HEV became flat-walled, with a 45-50% reduction in the capacity to bind lymphocytes. This decrease in function of HEV could be reduced when LN were cultured in the presence of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). The effect of LPS on the function of HEV was presumably mediated by macrophages in the subcapsular sinus, because HEV in LN, which were depleted of subcapsular sinus and medullary macrophages previous to culture, could not be stimulated by addition of LPS to the cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-91
Number of pages15
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1991


  • Animals
  • Clodronic Acid/pharmacology
  • Cytokines/pharmacology
  • Endothelium/immunology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lipopolysaccharides/pharmacology
  • Lymph Nodes/immunology
  • Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Macrophage Activation
  • Macrophages/immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Organ Culture Techniques

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