Fascin-positive dendritic cells and fibroblastic reticulum cells build a framework of T-cell areas in lymph nodes.
ABSTRACT Fascin, a 55-kDa actin-bundling protein, and alpha-smooth muscle actin (ASMA) were immunohistochemically examined in murine normal and stimulated lymph nodes. In specific pathogen-free young female mice, a few fascin-positive cells (FPCs) were located in the sinus and surrounding tissues, but ASMA-positive cells were undetectable. Following a subcutaneous injection of sheep red blood cells, the numbers of FPCs and their dendrites increased in the paracortex, with the accumulation of activated lymphocytes. Fibroblastic reticulum cells (FRCs), endothelial cells, histiocytic cells and lymphocytes in various stages of maturation were all fascin negative. These results indicated that fascin could be a reliable marker of paracortical dendritic cells in murine lymph nodes. However, FRCs became ASMA positive. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the FPCs were interdigitating cells and that they closely contacted with FRCs. These two types of cells and reticular fiber formed a network in the paracortex and contacted with each other. In active paracortical response, both FPCs and FRCs are also stimulated and might play a significant role in the maturation of the lymphocytes.