Spleen Development and the Origin of Stromal Diversity

  • Elisa Lenti
  • Andrea Brendolan


The mammalian spleen is a secondary lymphoid organ that plays an important role in hematopoiesis and host defense. Consequently, asplenic or post-splenectomised patients have often increased risk of overwhelming infections as compared to normal population. Although much remains to be elucidated to fully understand the mechanisms governing spleen development, work over the past decade has provided new insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved. It is now clear that spleen development requires coordination of cell fate specification, migration and differentiation, and failure to properly accomplish these stepwise processes results in spleen growth defects. Recent work has also provided new insights on the origin of mature spleen stromal cells by demonstrating the developmental relationship between the embryonic splenic mesenchyme and adult stromal microenvironment. These findings established that, with the exception of endothelial cells, all mature spleen stromal cells originate from embryonic multipotent mesenchymal precursors. Here we summarize the current knowledge on the key transcription factors involved in patterning and morphogenesis of the mouse spleen, and describe the developmental origin of spleen stromal cells.


White Pulp Peripheral Lymphoid Tissue Lymphoid Tissue Inducer Dorsal Pancreas Lymphoid Tissue Inducer Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations


Splanchnic mesodermal plate


Spleno-pancreatic mesenchyme


Dorsal pancreas


Pre-B-Cell Leukemia Homeobox 1


NK2 Homeobox 5


Bagpipe Homeobox Protein Homolog 1


Sry-related hmg-box 9


T-Cell Leukemia Homeobox 1


Wilms Tumor 1




NK2 Homeobox 3


Podocyte-Expressed 1


Ribosomal Protein SA


Cyclin-dependent kinase 4 inhibitor B


Vascular endothelial cadherin


Mucosal vascular addressin cell adhesion molecule 1


Platelet-Derived Growth Factor Receptor, Beta


Isolated congenital asplenia


C-X-C motif chemokine 12, also known as stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1)


C-X-C motif chemokine 13, also known as B lymphocyte chemoattractant (BLC)


C-C motif chemokine 19


C-C motif chemokine 21


Retinoic acid-related orphan receptor-γ t


Lymphotoxin beta receptor




Lymphoid tissue inducer cells


Lymphoid tissue organizer cells


Lymphocytic choriomeningiatis virus


Fibroblastic reticular cell


Follicular dendritic cell


Marginal reticular cell


Extracellular matrix


Periasteriolar lymphoid sheet


B-cell receptor


Artificial lymphoid organs



This was supported by funding from the Italian Association for Cancer Research (Grant IG # 14511) and the Italian Ministry of Health (RF-2011-02347691) to A.B.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Experimental OncologyIRCCS San Raffaele Scientific InstituteMilanItaly

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