Structure and function of the immune system in the spleen

Steven M. Lewis, Adam Williams, Stephanie C. Eisenbarth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

453 Scopus citations


The spleen is the largest secondary lymphoid organ in the body and, as such, hosts a wide range of immunologic functions alongside its roles in hematopoiesis and red blood cell clearance. The physical organization of the spleen allows it to filter blood of pathogens and abnormal cells and facilitate low-probability interactions between antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and cognate lymphocytes. APCs specific to the spleen regulate the T and B cell response to these antigenic targets in the blood. This review will focus on cell types, cell organization, and immunologic functions specific to the spleen and how these affect initiation of adaptive immunity to systemic blood-borne antigens. Potential differences in structure and function between mouse and human spleen will also be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaau6085
JournalScience Immunology
Issue number33
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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