Enhanced Histopathology of Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue

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Abstract

The secretory epithelial surfaces of the body are a major route of entry for potentially pathogenic substances. The organized mucosal lymphoid tissues that are found within the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts are therefore particularly important as a first line of defense against harmful compounds. The major function of these mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues (MALT) is to initiate local IgA immune responses, which are then passed on to draining lymph nodes. For enhanced histopathology, the separate compartments of each lymphoid tissue should be evaluated separately for changes in size and lymphocyte cellularity and descriptive rather than interpretive terminology should be used to characterize any changes. The organization of MALT is similar to that of lymph nodes with B-cell-rich follicles and T-cell-rich interfollicular areas. Therefore, these two compartments should be evaluated separately for changes in size and lymphocyte cellularity and the germinal center development within lymphoid follicles should be evaluated as well.

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