Dendritic cells in remodeling of lymph nodes during immune responses
A critical hallmark of adaptive immune responses is the rapid and extensive expansion of lymph nodes. During this process, the complex internal structure of the organs is maintained revealing the existence of mechanisms able to balance lymph node integrity with structural flexibility. This article reviews the extensive architectural remodeling that occurs within lymph nodes during adaptive immune responses and how it is regulated by dendritic cells (DCs). In particular we focus on previously unappreciated functions of DCs in coordinating remodeling of lymph node vasculature, expansion of the fibroblastic reticular network and maintenance of lymphoid stromal phenotypes. Our increased understanding of these processes indicates that DCs need to be viewed not only as key antigen-presenting cells for lymphocytes but also as broad-acting immune sentinels that convey signals to lymphoid organ stroma and thereby facilitate immune response initiation at multiple levels.