Vimentin immunostaining in fibroblastic reticulum cells within human reactive and neoplastic lymphoid follicles

Annunziata Gloghini, Rachele Volpe, Antonino Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analyzed the distribution of fibroblastic reticulum cells (FRCs), stationary cells of lymphoid tissues, as visualized by the anti-vimentin (V9) monoclonal antibody in human reactive and neoplastic lymphoid follicles, by using immunoenzymatic and immunofluorescence methods on fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 37 lymphoid specimens with reactive disorders and 10 specimens with nodular/follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs). The pattern of distribution of the vimentin-positive (VIM+) FRCs was compared with that of follicular dendritic reticulum cells (DRCs) as visualized by anti-S-100 protein antibody. Elongate VIM+ FRCs intimately attached to reticulum fibers were randomly distributed in the paracortical and interfollicular areas of lymph nodes, whereas they were recognized specifically in the mantle zones of the secondary follicles, mostly in the outer margins. Germinal centers were consistently devoid of VIM+ FRCs. Comparative analysis on serial sections as well as paired immunoperoxidase and double immunofluorescence studies demonstrated that there was a sharp difference between the patterns of intrafollicular distribution of VIM+ FRCs and S-100 protein-positive (S-100+) DRCs without juxtaposition, the FRCs being confined to the mantle zones. In the 10 nodular/follicular NHLs VIM+ FRCs could be observed in the thinned mantles of neoplastic nodules displaying a corona-like pattern that accentuated the boundaries of the nodules. The results of this study support the view that the intrafollicular distribution of VIM+ FRCs is specific for the mantle zone. The different microenvironmental organization within the follicles of VIM+ FRCs and S-100+ DRCs suggests that FRCs or at least VIM+ FRCs are stationary cells strictly related to the mantle zone microenvironment, where they may play a role in supposed sustentacular and immunologic functions similar to that of DRCs in the germinal center microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-798
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • dendritic cells
  • double immunostaining
  • fibroblastic reticulum cells
  • immunofluorescence
  • immunoperoxidase
  • lymphoid tissue
  • malignant lymphomas
  • vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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