Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma

Topic Completed: 1 October 2012

Minor changes: 29 July 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Spleen[TI] histology[TI]

Page views in 2019: 3,490
Page views in 2020 to date: 4,716
Table of Contents
Definition / general | Drawings
Cite this page: Mansouri J. Histology. website. Accessed November 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Composed of red pulp (occupies 75% of splenic volume) and white pulp separated by marginal zone

Red pulp:
  • Filters old / damaged red blood cells
  • Traversed by thin walled venous sinusoids lined by littoral cells, a type of endothelial cell which also stains with histiocytic markers and has a discontinuous wall, allowing passing of red blood cells between sinus and cords
  • Sinuses are separated by splenic cords (cords of Billroth) containing a labyrinth of splenic macrophages, which filter red blood cells and ingest old (normal lifespan is 120 days), damaged (seen in hereditary spherocytosis, sickle cell anemia) or antibody coated red blood cells
  • Also remove Heinz bodies or other red blood cell inclusions (peripheral blood has Howell-Jolly bodies if no functional spleen is present)

White pulp:
  • Forms sheaths of lymphoid cells around arteries (periarteriolar lymphatic sheath), composed of T cells and lymphoid follicles (B cells) with surrounding mantle zone (proliferating B cells) and outer marginal zone (memory B cells)
  • Traps antigens for processing
  • In young infants, immature marginal zone may contribute to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections or sudden infant death syndrome (Hum Pathol 2004;35:113)

Blood flow:
  • Arteries terminate in fine penicilliary arterioles surrounded by lymphocytes, then enter red pulp sinusoids, then to splenic veins

Images hosted on other servers:

Transverse section

Back to top
Image 01 Image 02