Chronic inflammation is a response to prolonged exposure to injurious stimuli that harm and destroy tissues and promote lymphocyte infiltration into inflamed sites. Following progressive accumulation of lymphocytes, the histology of inflamed tissue begins to resemble that of peripheral lymphoid organs, which can be referred to as lymphoid neogenesis or formation of tertiary lymphoid tissues. Lymphocyte recruitment to inflamed tissues is also reminiscent of lymphocyte homing to peripheral lymphoid organs. In the latter, under physiological conditions, homing receptors expressed on lymphocytes adhere to vascular addressin expressed on high endothelial venules (HEVs), initiating a lymphocyte migration process composed of sequential adhesive interactions. Intriguingly, in chronic inflammation, HEV-like vessels are induced de novo, despite the fact that the inflamed site is not originally lymphoid tissue, and these vessels contribute to lymphocyte recruitment in a manner similar to physiological lymphocyte homing. In this review, we first describe physiological lymphocyte homing mechanisms focusing on vascular addressins. We then describe HEV-like vessel-mediated pathogenesis seen in various chronic inflammatory disorders such as Helicobacter pylori gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune pancreatitis and sclerosing sialadenitis, as well as chronic inflammatory cell neoplasm MALT lymphoma, with reference to our work and that of others.
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