Tertiary lymphoid tissues generate effector and memory T cells that lead to allograft rejection

I. W. Nasr, M. Reel, M. H. Oberbarnscheidt, R. H. Mounzer, F. K. Baddoura, N. H. Ruddle, F. G. Lakkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Tertiary lymphoid tissues are lymph node-like cell aggregates that arise at sites of chronic inflammation. They have been observed in transplanted organs undergoing chronic rejection, but it is not known whether they contribute to the rejection process by supporting local activation of naïve lymphocytes. To answer this question, we established a murine transplantation model in which the donor skin contains tertiary lymphoid tissues due to transgenic expression of lymphotoxin-α(RIP-LTα), whereas the recipient lacks all secondary lymphoid organs and does not mount primary alloimmune responses. We demonstrate in this model that RIP-LTα allografts that harbor tertiary lymphoid tissues are rejected, while wild-type allografts that lack tertiary lymphoid tissues are accepted. Wild-type allografts transplanted at the same time as RIP-LTα skin or 60 days later were also rejected, suggesting that tertiary lymphoid tissues, similar to secondary lymphoid organs, generate both effector and memory immune responses. Consistent with this observation, naive T cells transferred to RIP-LTα skin allograft but not syngeneic graft recipients proliferated and differentiated into effector and memory T cells. These findings provide direct evidence that tertiary lymphoid structures perpetuate the rejection process by supporting naïve T-cell activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1071-1079
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunologic memory
  • Lymphoid neogenesis
  • Lymphotoxins
  • Rejection
  • T cells
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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