The adenoid and tonsils are lymphoid tissues located in the pharynx that play an important role in host defense against invading antigens of the upper respiratory tract. Histologically, these structures consist of four well-defined microcompartments which all participate in the immune response: the cryptepithelium, the follicular germinal center with the mantle zone and interfollicular area. With the uptake of antigen by M-cells present in the cryptepithelium a process is initiated which ultimately results in the generation and dissemination of antigen-specific memory and mainly dimeric IgA-producing effector B-lymphocytes. This process requires successful cognate interactions between antigen-presenting cells and lymphocytes and mutually between lymphocytes, which depend not only on antigen-specific signals but also on the expression of various complementary adhesion and costimulatory molecules.

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