Fibroblast-type reticular stromal cells regulate the lymph node vasculature Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Fibroblasts
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System


  • The lymph node vasculature is essential to immune function, but mechanisms regulating lymph node vascular maintenance and growth are not well understood. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an important mediator of lymph node endothelial cell proliferation in stimulated lymph nodes. It is expressed basally in lymph nodes and up-regulated upon lymph node stimulation, but the identity of VEGF-expressing cells in lymph nodes is not known. We show that, at homeostasis, fibroblast-type reticular stromal cells (FRC) in the T zone and medullary cords are the principal VEGF-expressing cells in lymph nodes and that VEGF plays a role in maintaining endothelial cell proliferation, although peripheral node addressin (PNAd)(+) endothelial cells are less sensitive than PNAd(-) endothelial cells to VEGF blockade. Lymphotoxin beta receptor (LTbetaR) blockade reduces homeostatic VEGF levels and endothelial cell proliferation, and LTbetaR stimulation of murine fibroblast-type cells up-regulates VEGF expression, suggesting that LTbetaR signals on FRC regulate lymph node VEGF levels and, thereby, lymph node endothelial cell proliferation. At the initiation of immune responses, FRC remain the principal VEGF mRNA-expressing cells in lymph nodes, suggesting that FRC may play an important role in regulating vascular growth in stimulated nodes. In stimulated nodes, VEGF regulates the proliferation and expansion of both PNAd(+) and PNAd(-) endothelial cells. Taken together, these data suggest a role for FRC as paracrine regulators of lymph node endothelial cells and suggest that modulation of FRC VEGF expression may be a means to regulate lymph node vascularity and, potentially, immune function.

publication date

  • September 15, 2008



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC2562332

PubMed ID

  • 18768843

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 3887

end page

  • 96


  • 181


  • 6