Adaptive immune responses are characterized by substantial restructuring of secondary lymphoid organs. The molecular and cellular factors responsible for virus-induced lymphoid remodeling are not well known to date. Here we applied optical projection tomography, a mesoscopic imaging technique, for a global analysis of the entire 3-dimensional structure of mouse peripheral lymph nodes (PLNs), focusing on B-cell areas and high endothelial venule (HEV) networks. Structural homeostasis of PLNs was characterized by a strict correlation between total PLN volume, B-cell volume, B-cell follicle number, and HEV length. After infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, we observed a substantial, lymphotoxin (LT) β-receptor-dependent reorganization of the PLN microarchitecture, in which an initial B-cell influx was followed by 3-fold increases in PLN volume and HEV network length on day 8 after infection. Adoptive transfer experiments revealed that virus-induced PLN and HEV network remodeling required LTα1β2-expressing B cells, whereas the inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor-A signaling pathways had no significant effect on PLN expansion. In summary, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-induced PLN growth depends on a vascular endothelial growth factor-A-independent, LT- and B cell-dependent morphogenic pathway, as revealed by an in-depth mesoscopic analysis of the global PLN structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology