Emerging research on the roles of stromal cells in modulating adaptive immune responses has included a new focus on lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). LECs are presumably the first cells that come into direct contact with peripheral antigens, cytokines, danger signals, and immune cells travelling from peripheral tissues to lymph nodes. LECs can modulate dendritic cell function, present antigens to T cells on MHC class I and MHC class II molecules, and express immunomodulatory cytokines and receptors, which suggests that their roles in adaptive immunity are far more extensive than previously realized. This Review summarizes the emergent evidence that LECs are important in maintaining peripheral tolerance, limiting and resolving effector T cell responses, and modulating leukocyte function.
Catherine M. Card, Shann S. Yu, Melody A. Swartz