We previously demonstrated that artificial lymph nodes (aLNs) could be generated in mice by the implantation of stromal cell–embedded biocompatible scaffolds into their renal subcapsular spaces. T and B cell domains that form in aLNs have immune response functions similar to those of follicles of normal lymphoid tissue. In the present study, we show that the aLNs were transplantable to normal as well as SCID mice, where they efficiently induced secondary immune responses. Antigen-specific secondary responses were strongly induced in aLNs even 4 weeks after their transplantation. The antigen-specific antibody responses in lymphocyte-deficient SCID mice receiving transplanted aLNs were substantial. The cells from the aLNs migrated to the SCID mouse spleen and BM, where they expanded to generate large numbers of antigen-specific antibody-forming cells. Secondary responses were maintained over time after immunization (i.e., antigen challenge), indicating that aLNs can support the development of memory B cells and long-lived plasma cells. Memory CD4+ T cells were enriched in the aLNs and spleens of aLN-transplanted SCID mice. Our results indicate that aLNs support strong antigen-specific secondary antibody responses in immunodeficient mice and suggest the possibility of future clinical applications.
Noriaki Okamoto, Risa Chihara, Chiori Shimizu, Sogo Nishimoto, Takeshi Watanabe