Role of tertiary lymphoid organs in the regulation of immune responses in the periphery

Amit I. Bery, Hailey M. Shepherd, Wenjun Li, Alexander S. Krupnick, Andrew E. Gelman, Daniel Kreisel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Tertiary lymphoid organs (TLOs) are collections of immune cells resembling secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) that form in peripheral, non-lymphoid tissues in response to local chronic inflammation. While their formation mimics embryologic lymphoid organogenesis, TLOs form after birth at ectopic sites in response to local inflammation resulting in their ability to mount diverse immune responses. The structure of TLOs can vary from clusters of B and T lymphocytes to highly organized structures with B and T lymphocyte compartments, germinal centers, and lymphatic vessels (LVs) and high endothelial venules (HEVs), allowing them to generate robust immune responses at sites of tissue injury. Although our understanding of the formation and function of these structures has improved greatly over the last 30 years, their role as mediators of protective or pathologic immune responses in certain chronic inflammatory diseases remains enigmatic and may differ based on the local tissue microenvironment in which they form. In this review, we highlight the role of TLOs in the regulation of immune responses in chronic infection, chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cancer, and solid organ transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number359
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Tertiary lymphoid structures
  • Transplantation immunology
  • Tumor microenvironment


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