The early postnatal development of the primary immune response in TNP-KLH-stimulated popliteal lymph node in the rat Academic Article uri icon


  • The popliteal lymph nodes were removed from young rats of various ages five days after a single immunization with TNP-KLH in the hind footpads. Cryostat sections of the lymph nodes were investigated by means of enzyme- and immunohistochemical techniques at the light-microscopical level. The presence and localization of anti-TNP antibody-containing cells were examined using a new technique to visualize specific antibodies. Moreover, the development of the lymph nodes following exogenous antigenic stimulation was compared with that of unstimulated lymph nodes. Specific antibody-containing cells could not be found before day 15 after birth, in rats immunized at day 10. From that time these lymphoid cells were located primarily at the border between cortex and medulla. Younger popliteal lymph nodes showed only aspecific immunoglobulin-containing lymphoid cells. With age, the number of specific antibody-containing cells tended to increase. These cells were more mature, according to morphological criteria and were located nearer the medulla. The first primary follicles were seen at day 19, as was the case in unstimulated animals. The first secondary follicles, containing germinal centers, were detected at day 23, whereas in unstimulated popliteal lymph nodes they were never found. Trapping of immune complexes could not be demonstrated before day 33 after birth. The later appearance of this phenomenon might be a consequence of the techniques applied to demonstrate specific antibody-containing cells.

publication date

  • December 1986