Review Article | Published:

Immune surveillance by the liver

Nature Immunology volume 14, pages 9961006 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Receiving both portal vein blood and arterial blood, the liver is an important and critical component in the defense against blood-borne infection. To accomplish this role, the liver contains numerous innate and adaptive immune cells that specialize in detection and capture of pathogens from the blood. Further, these immune cells participate in coordinated immune responses leading to pathogen clearance, leukocyte recruitment and antigen presentation to lymphocytes within the vasculature. Finally, this role in host defense must be tightly regulated to ensure that inappropriate immune responses are not raised against nonpathogenic exogenous blood-borne molecules, such as those derived from food. It is this balance between activation and tolerance that characterizes the liver as a frontline immunological organ.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to W.-Y. Lee and C. Wong (Monash University, Australia) for providing the intravital microscopy images and movie used in this paper.

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Affiliations

  1. Calvin, Phoebe & Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    • Craig N Jenne
    •  & Paul Kubes
  2. Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    • Craig N Jenne
  3. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

    • Paul Kubes

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Kubes.

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Videos

  1. 1.

    Rapid target capture by Kupffer cells under flow conditions.

    Intravital microscopy of the liver of a C57BL/6 mouse. After intravenous injection of inert, fluorescent microspheres (green) F4/80-labeled Kupffer cells (blue) are seen to capture the particles from the circulation under shear conditions.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.2691

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