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Open Access Research

Expression of endothelia and lymphocyte adhesion molecules in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) in adult human lung

Nakaaki Kawamata12, Baohui Xu34*, Hiroo Nishijima5, Kohji Aoyama3, Mayumi Kusumoto3, Toru Takeuchi3, Chuwa Tei2, Sara A Michie4 and Takami Matsuyama1

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Immunology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan

2 Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Metabolic Medicine, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan

3 Environmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, 8-35-1 Sakuragaoka, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan

4 Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

5 Department of Surgery, Kagoshima Kouseiren Hospital, Kagoshima, Japan

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Respiratory Research 2009, 10:97  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-10-97

Published: 22 October 2009

Abstract

Background

Bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) is the secondary lymphoid tissue in bronchial mucosa and is involved in the development of bronchopulmonary immune responses. Although migration of lymphocytes from blood vessels into secondary lymphoid tissues is critical for the development of appropriate adaptive immunity, the endothelia and lymphocyte adhesion molecules that recruit specific subsets of lymphocytes into human BALT are not known. The aim of this study was to determine which adhesion molecules are expressed on lymphocytes and high endothelial venules (HEVs) in human BALT.

Methods

We immunostained frozen sections of BALT from lobectomy specimens from 17 patients with lung carcinoma with a panel of monoclonal antibodies to endothelia and lymphocyte adhesion molecules.

Results

Sections of BALT showed B cell follicles surrounded by T cells. Most BALT CD4+ T cells had a CD45RO+ memory phenotype. Almost all BALT B cells expressed α4 integrin and L-selectin. In contrast, 43% of BALT T cells expressed α4 integrin and 20% of BALT T cells expressed L-selectin. Almost all BALT lymphocytes expressed LFA-1. HEVs, which support the migration of lymphocytes from the bloodstream into secondary lymphoid tissues, were prominent in BALT. All HEVs expressed peripheral node addressin, most HEVs expressed vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and no HEVs expressed mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1.

Conclusion

Human BALT expresses endothelia and lymphocyte adhesion molecules that may be important in recruiting naive and memory/effector lymphocytes to BALT during protective and pathologic bronchopulmonary immune responses.