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Professor Meng

The human body immune system has the ability to

distinguish “self” from “non-self”, to neutralize or
inactive foreign molecules, and to destroy
microorganisms and abnormal cells in own body.
On occasion, the immune system of individual reacts
against its own normal body tissues or molecules,
causing autoimmune disease.
Components of immune system

The immune system comprises immune cells,

lymphoid tissue and lymphoid organs.
The immune cells include lymphocytes, plasma cells,
mast cells, phagocytes and antigen presenting
The lymphoid tissue consists of reticular tissue and
immune cells. The reticular tissue forms a network.
The immune cells lie in the network.
lymphoid tissue-1.ppt
There are two types of lymphoid tissue: diffused
lymphoid tissue and lymphoid nodule.
cortex of lymphoid node-1.ppt

Lymphoid organs are mainly composed of lymphoid

tissue and include thymus, bone marrow, lymph
nodes, spleen, tonsils, etc.
lymphoid organs.ppt

A substance that is recognized by cells of the

immune system is called an antigen. Antigens may
consist of soluble molecules or molecules belong to
whole cells. The response of immune system elicited
by the antigens is called immune response.

The antibodies are also called immunoglobulins(Ig)

which are a group of glycoproteins. The antibodies
are produced by plasma cell, and can be divided
into five typers: IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE and IgD.
The main function of the antibodies is to neutralize
the harmful effects of antigens on the body.
Basic types of immune response

There are two types of immune response: humoral

immune response and cellular immune response.
Humoral immune response is related to the
presence of antibodies that inactivate or destroy
foreign substances. The antibodies are produced by
plasma cells which derive from B lymphocytes, or B
immune reaction-1.ppt
The cellular immune response is mediated mainly by
T lymphocytes, or T cells. In cellular immune
response T cells react against and kill
microorganisms, foreign cells (from transplants),
tumor cells and virus-infected cells.
immune reaction-1.ppt
Immune cells
Thymus dependent lymphocytes (T cells) come from
thymus and have three subtypes:
Cytotoxic T cell( Tc ) killing the tumor cells, virus
infective cells and foreign cells by secreting cytokine.
Helper T cell( Th ) promoting activity of other
immune cells.
Suppressor T cell( Ts ) regulating the function of
other immune cells.
Bone marrow dependent lymphocytes (B cells)
come from bone marrow and can change into
plasma cells which can secrete antibodies.

Nature killer cells (NK cells) come also from bone

marrow and can attack virus-infected cells and
cancer cells without previous stimulation.
Antigen presenting cells(APCs)
APCs are found in many tissues and constitute a
heterogeneous cell population that includes
macrophages , dendritic cells and B lymphocytes .

Dendritic cells
Langerhans cells in epidermis
Interdigitating cells in spleen and lymph nodes
Follicular dendritic cells in lymphoid nodules
Microfold cells in small intestine
Function of APCs
APCs have the capacity to capture the antigens, and
to partially digest the protein of antigen into small
peptides. The lymphocytes can only recognize the
small peptides presented by APCs. In this way,
APCs transport the antigens to lymphocytes and
elicit the immune response.
Mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS)

MPS has intense phagocytic activity, involving in

immune response. The cells of MPS originate from
monocyte series of bone marrow and distribute
throughout the body
Promonocyte monocyte different phagocytic cells
Phagocytosing abnormal cells, cell debris, bacteria, etc.
Secreting enzymes and cytokines.
Cells of MPS

Name Location

Monocyte Blood
Macrophage C.T., lymph node,
Kupffer cell Liver
Alveolar macrophage Lung
Osteoclast Bone
Microglia CNS
Interdigitating cell Lymphoid tissue
Langerhans cell Epidermis
Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)

Why does the human body has the ability to

distinguish “self” from “non-self” ?
The immune system distinguishes self from non-self
mainly by the presence on cell surfaces of MHC
molecules. These molecules fall into 2 classes: MHC-
I is present in all cells, whereas MHC-II is found
only in APCs. MHC molecules is unique to each
This is the main reason tissue grafts and organ
transplants are often rejected if they are not made
between identical twins who possess identical
MHC molecules.
Lymphoid tissue

The lymphoid tissue consists of reticular tissue and

immune cells. The reticular tissue forms a network. The
immune cells lie in the network.
Reticular cells
stellate-shaped with processes to form network
Reticular fiber
Immune cells:
lymphocytes, macrophage, plasma cell and mast
lymphoid tissue-1.ppt
There are two types of lymphoid tissue: diffused
lymphoid tissue and lymphoid nodule, or lymphoid
follicle. cortex of lymphoid node-1.ppt
Diffuse lymphoid tissue
Irregular in shape, no clear boundary
mainly consists of T cell
postcapillary venules

High endothelium Postcapillary venule.ppt

Opening for lympycytes to enter lymphoid tissue from
Lymphoid nodule
spherical or ovoid; have a clear boundary; mainly
composed of B cells
Well developed lymphoid
nodule ( secondary lymphoid
Cap small lymphocytes

Germinal center
middle sized lymphocytes large
Lymphoid organs

Central lymphoid organs: thymus and bone marrow

 develop earlier (fetal period )

 place for stem cells to proliferate and differentiate

 send lymphocytes to peripheral lymphoid organs

two weeks before borne
Peripheral lymphoid organs: lymph node, spleen and
Develop later
lymphocytes come from central lymphoid organs
cellproliferation need antigen stimulating( antigen
place for immune reactions
Lymph node

lymph nodes lie along the course of the lymphatic

vessels, especially in axilla, groin, neck, mesentery
and prevertebral region.
lymphoid organs.ppt
The entire node is bean-shaped, the concavity
constituting a hilum through which blood vessels enter
and leave the node. Several afferent lymph vessels
enter the node on its convex aspect. Usually, a single
efferent lymph vessel leaves the node through its
hilum. lymphoid node-M.ppt
Capsule connective tissue with afferent lymph vessels
and blood vessels.
Trabeculae connective tissue, forming a framework.
Parenchyma lymphoid tissue, can be divided into
cortex: outer densely stained part
medulla: inner paler stained part
lymphoid node-M.ppt lymphoid node-
The cortex of lymph node consists of lymphoid nodules,
paracortical region (thymus dependent zone) and cortical
sinuses .
Lymphoid nodules with or without germinal center, B
cell mainly, follicular dendritic cells
Paracortical region (thymus dependent zone)
diffuse lymphoid tissue,
T cells mainly, marcophages, APCs.
postcapillary venules, lymphocytes can pass this
vessel through the endothelia or intercellular space
cortex of lymphoid node-1.ppt Postcapillary venule.ppt
Cortical sinuses lymphoid sinus
subcapsular sinus and peritrabecular sinus
lymphoid sinuses.ppt
The medulla includes medullary cords and medullary
Medullary cord
The lymphoid tissue is arranged in the form of cords
which contain B cells, T cells, plasma cells,
macrophages and mast cells.
Medullary sinuses
similar to cortical sinuses, more irregular
more macrophages
lymphoid node-medulla.ppt
Lymph circulation in lymph node

Afferent lymphoid vessels

Subcapsular sinuses

Peritrabecular sinuses

Medullary sinus

Efferent lymphoid vessels

Functions of lymph node
① Filter the lymph 99% of antigens and other
debris are filtered by lymph node.
② Place to give rise to the immune response
both T cells and B cells
both cellular and humoral immune response
③ Involve in the recirculation of lymphocytes.
Recirculation of lymphocytes
Lymphoid organs
or tissues

Postcapillary Efferent lymphoid vessel

venules (Lymph circulation)

①An efficient surveillance.
②Promote the communication among immune
③Provide for more rapid and more persistent
immune responses.
The spleen is the largest lymphoid organ of the body.
Capsule The capsule of spleen is the visceral layer of
peritoneum which is formed by connective tissue with
smooth muscles and mesothelium.
Trabeculae connective tissue with smooth muscles.
Parenchyma lymphoid tissue
white pulp, red pulp and marginal zone
White pulp
Periarterial lymphatic sheath
T cells surround the central artery forming
Periarterial lymphatic sheath. There are also some
macrophages and interdigitating cells.
thymus dependent area
Lymphoid nodules (splenic corpuscle)
B cells
white pulp.ppt
Red pulp
Splenic cord lymphoid cord, including T cell , B
cell, plasma cell, macrophages, and blood cells.
Place for filtering blood
Splenic sinus specialized capillary; rod-like
endothelium, incomplete basal lamina, large spaces
between endothelium; large and irregular lumen.
This permits blood cells to pass through the wall of
splenic sinus freely.
red pulp.ppt
Marginal zone
It is between the white pulp and red pulp, about
100um width. There are T cells, B cells, macrophages
and numerous APCs.
Marginal sinusoids the branches of central artery,
channels for lymphocytes entering lymphoid tissue
from blood.
This region seems to be specialized for bringing
antigens (confined to circulating blood )into contact
with lymphocytes in the spleen so that an appropriate
immune response can be started against the antigens.
Blood supply of spleen
splenic A trabecular A

central A marginal sinuses

penicillar Arterioles
Open circulation
Closed circulation
splenic sinuses splenic cords

pulp venule trabecular vein

splenic vein
blood circulation.ppt
Lymph vessels of the spleen
Traditionally, it has been held that in the spleen lymph
vessels are confined to the capsule and trabeculae.
Recent studies have shown, however, that they are
present in all parts of the spleen. Lymphocytes
produced in the spleen reach the blood stream mainly
through the lymph vessels.
Filter blood The spleen acts as a filter for worn out
red blood cells. Normal erythrocytes can change shape
and pass easily through narrow passages. However,
cells that are aged are unable to change shape and are
trapped in the spleen where they are destroyed by

Where is the blood filtered in?

Place of immune response
T cells Periarterial lymphatic sheath
cellular immune response
B cells Lymphoid nodules
humoral immune response
Produce blood cells
In fetal life the spleen is a centre for production of all
blood cells.
After birth only lymphocytes are produced here.
Blood storage
The spleen is often regarded as a store of blood which
can be thrown into the circulation when required.
In conditions calling for increased lymphocyte
production (leukaemia), or conditions in which there is
increased phagocytosis by macrophages (as in any
infection), and in conditions involving increased
destruction of erythrocytes (e.g., malaria) there may be
enlargement of spleen. The condition is called
splenomegaly. When spleen becomes splenomegaly the
function of spleen is facilitated, which may cause
The tonsils constitute a lymphoid tissue that lies beneath,
and contact with, the epithelium of the initial portion of
the digestive tract. Depending on their location, tonsils in
the mouth and pharynx are called palatine tonsil,
pharyngeal tonsil and lingual tonsil.

Tonsils are the place of immune response.

Palatine tonsil The palatine tonsils
consist of diffuse
lymphocytes and
lymphoid nodules
disposed under a
stratified squamous
epithelium which forms
many crypts. The
epithelium of crypts
often contain dead
epithelial cells and
inflammatory cells. So
it is called crypt
infiltrated epithelium.

Central lymphoid organ

Behind the upper portion of sternum

At birth the thymus weighs 10 ~ 15g. The weight

increases to 30 ~ 40g at puberty. Subsequently, much
of the organ is replaced by fat. However, the thymus is
believed to produce T-lymphocytes throughout life.
Structure of thymus thymus.ppt
Capsule: connective tissue
Interlobular septum : connective tissue
Parenchyma lobules
cortex: dark-staining medulla: lighter-staining
lymphoid tissue consists of epithelial reticular cell,
thymocytes and macrophages.

The thymus has a rich blood supply. It does not receive

any lymph vessels, but gives off efferent vessels.
Epithelial reticular cell in cortex have different shape:
star-like with processes, forming a framework.
flattened, secreting thymosin and thymopoietin
The epithelial reticular cells in the cortex also act as
thymic nurse cells. They promote Thymocytes
proliferation and differentiation, and destroy
Thymocytes that react against self antigens.
thymus-M.ppt T-CORTEX.ppt
Lymphocytes(T cell precursors) in thymus are called
thymocytes. In the cortex they are densely packed, in
various stages of differentiation and maturation.
From superfacial cortex to deep cortex:
Large low differentiated thymocytes.
Middle sized thymocytes.
Small maturation thymocytes . thymus-M.ppt
95% of thymocytes in cortex are destroyed by
epithelial reticular cells and macrophages. Only 5%
of thymocytes become T cell.

Why? React against self antigens.

Many epithelial reticular cells
A few mature thymocytes(T cells)
Thymic corpuscles (Hassall corpuscles)
They are acidophilic bodies that consist of concentric
layers of epithelial reticular cells. They sometimes
Their function is unknown, but they are characteristic
structure of thymus.
thymus-M.ppt T-medulla.ppt
Blood-thymus barrier
There is a barrier between blood and thymic tissue.
Large molecular substances in blood can not enter the
cortex of thymus.
Contineous capillary with contineous endothelial cell

and complete basement membrane of endothelium

peri-vessel space containing macrophages
basal lamina of epithelial reticular cells
Processes of epithelial reticular cells with desmosome
T-B barrier.ppt
Provide a stable environment for lymphocytes
development . It is difficulty that antigen and some
medicine in blood pass into the parenchyma of thymus,
especially in cortex. This is important for development
of thymocytes.
Function of thymus
Place for differentiation and mature of T cells.
Secretion secreting thymosin and thymopoietin by
epithelial reticular cells.
1. What is lymphoid tissue? How many types of
lymphoid tissue are there? What differences are there
between they?
2. Describe the differences between the lymph node and
the spleen.
3. Describe the structure and function of blood-thymus
4. Describe the route and function of lymphocyte