Vagal innervation is required for the formation of tertiary lymphoid tissue in colitis

Brenda J. Olivier, Cathy Cailotto, Jan van der Vliet, Marlene Knippenberg, Mascha J. Greuter, Francisca W. Hilbers, Tanja Konijn, Anje A. te Velde, Martijn A. Nolte, Guy E. Boeckxstaens, Wouter J. de Jonge, Reina E. Mebius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Tertiary lymphoid tissue (TLT) is lymphoid tissue that forms in adult life as a result of chronic inflammation in a tissue or organ. TLT has been shown to form in a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, though it is not clear if and how TLT develops in the inflamed colon during inflammatory bowel disease. Here, we show that TLT develops as newly formed lymphoid tissue in the colon following dextran sulphate sodium induced colitis in C57BL/6 mice, where it can be distinguished from the preexisting colonic patches and solitary intestinal lymphoid tissue. TLT in the inflamed colon develops following the expression of lymphoid tissue-inducing chemokines and adhesion molecules, such as CXCL13 and VCAM-1, respectively, which are produced by stromal organizer cells. Surprisingly, this process of TLT formation was independent of the lymphotoxin signaling pathway, but rather under neuronal control, as we demonstrate that selective surgical ablation of vagus nerve innervation inhibits CXCL13 expression and abrogates TLT formation without affecting colitis. Sympathetic neuron denervation does not affect TLT formation. Hence, we reveal that inflammation in the colon induces the formation of TLT, which is controlled by innervation through the vagus nerve
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2467-2480
JournalEuropean journal of immunology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Chemokines
  • Dextran sodium sulphate colitis model
  • Stromal cells
  • Tertiary lymphoid tissue
  • Vagus nerve

Cite this