Lymphoma and plasma cell neoplasms
Lymph nodes
Normal histology

Topic Completed: 1 January 2011

Minor changes: 1 April 2020

Copyright: 2001-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: histology lymph nodes

Nikhil Sangle, M.D.
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Cite this page: Sangle N. Normal histology of lymph nodes. website. Accessed June 7th, 2020.
  • Germinal center: round / oval zone containing pale staining cells, surrounded by darker cells
  • Mantle zone: small unchallenged B cells surrounding pale staining germinal centers
  • Marginal zone: light zone surrounding follicles; contains postfollicular memory B cells derived after stimulation of recirculating cells from T cell dependent antigen; named "marginal cells" due to location at interface of lymphoid white pulp and nonlymphoid red pulp in the spleen; however, marginal zone is rarely seen except in mesenteric nodes (APMIS 2002;110:325)
  • Sinuses: direct the flow of lymph from the afferent lymphatics, to the subcapsular sinus, to the trabecular sinus, to the medullary sinus, to the efferent lymphatics (see diagram below)
  • Reference: Toxicol Pathol 2006;34:409
Cell Types
  • Centroblasts: large noncleaved follicular center cells with moderate amounts of basophilic cytoplasm, round nuclei, open chromatin, multiple peripheral nucleoli
  • Centrocytes: small cleaved follicular center cells with scant cytoplasm
Diagrams / tables

Images hosted on other servers:

Lymph node architecture

Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP Images

Lymphocytes merge with paracortical T zone

Lymph node

Polarized mantle and and pale zone

Cells containing cytoplasmic immunoglobulin

Primary and secondary follicles in
cortex adjacent to paracortical T zone;
the subcapsular sinus connects to the
medullary sinuses via trabecular sinuses (right)

Paracortical T zone

Ki67 nuclear staining

CD35 stain

bcl2 stain

CD4+ T cells (blue) and CD8+ T cells (red)

Virgin T cells (CD45RA, blue) and memory T cells (CD45RO, red)

Interdigitating dendritic cells (S100+, brown), T cells (CD43+, blue)

Mantle cell lymphocytes are kappa+ (left) and lambda+ (right);
most staining in the germinal center is confined to follicular dendritic
cell processes, in the form of immune complexes; scattered plasma cells
with strong staining are also seen near the surface of this tonsil specimen

Positive stains
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