T Cell zone resident macrophages silently dispose of apoptotic cells in the lymph node

Myriam Baratin, Léa Simon, Audrey Jorquera, Clément Ghigo, Doulaye Dembele, Jonathan Nowak, Rebecca Gentek, Stephan Wienert, Frederick Klauschen, Bernard Malissen, Marc Dalod, Marc Bajénoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In lymph nodes (LNs), dendritic cells (DCs) are thought to dispose of apoptotic cells, a function pertaining to macrophages in other tissues. We found that a population of CX3CR1+ MERTK+ cells located in the T cell zone of LNs, previously identified as DCs, are efferocytic macrophages. Lineage-tracing experiments and shield chimeras indicated that these T zone macrophages (TZM) are long-lived macrophages seeded in utero and slowly replaced by blood monocytes after birth. Imaging the LNs of mice in which TZM and DCs express different fluorescent proteins revealed that TZM—and not DCs—act as the only professional scavengers, clearing apoptotic cells in the LN T cell zone in a CX3CR1-dependent manner. Furthermore, similar to other macrophages, TZM appear inefficient in priming CD4 T cells. Thus, efferocytosis and T cell activation in the LN are uncoupled processes designated to macrophages and DCs, respectively, with implications to the maintenance of immune homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-362.e5
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Early online date8 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017


  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Apoptosis
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • CX3C Chemokine Receptor 1
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells/immunology
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Lymph Nodes/immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Macrophages/immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Phagocytosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins/metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases/metabolism
  • Receptors, Chemokine/metabolism
  • c-Mer Tyrosine Kinase


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