Anatomy and nomenclature of murine lymph nodes: Descriptive
study and nomenclatory standardization in BALB/cAnNCrl mice
Wim Van den Broeck
, Annie Derore
, Paul Simoens
Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
Innogenetics NV, Industriepark Zwijnaarde 7, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium
Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium
Received 21 November 2005; received in revised form 10 January 2006; accepted 26 January 2006
Available online 6 March 2006
Murine lymph nodes are intensively studied but often assigned incorrectly in scientific papers. In BALB/cAnNCrl mice, we
characterized a total of 22 different lymph nodes. Peripheral nodes were situated in the head and neck region (mandibular,
accessory mandibular, superficial parotid, cranial deep cervical nodes), and at the forelimb (proper axillary, accessory axillary
nodes) and hindlimb (subiliac, sciatic, popliteal nodes). Intrathoracic lymph nodes included the cranial mediastinal,
tracheobronchal and caudal mediastinal nodes. Abdominal lymph nodes were associated with the gastrointestinal tract (gastric,
pancreaticoduodenal, jejunal, colic, caudal mesenteric nodes) or were located along the major intra-abdominal blood vessels (renal,
lumbar aortic, lateral iliac, medial iliac and external iliac nodes). Comparative and nomenclative aspects of murine lymph nodes are
discussed. The position of the lymph nodes of BALB/cAnNCrl mice is summarized and illustrated in an anatomical chart
containing proposals for both an official nomenclature according to the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria and English terms.
© 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Mouse; Lymph node; Nomenclature
Rodents, and mice in particular, have long been used
as laboratory animals in various scientific experiments.
The possibility to produce different murine strains and a
variety of knock-out mice, the high reproductive rate of
these animals, and the ease of their handling have made
them the preferential laboratory animal. In immunolog-
ical sciences, murine lymph nodes (lnn.) are often used
to isolate lymphocytes in order to study fundamental
aspects of immunology and immunopathology. The
methodology to recognize and dissect these lymph
nodes requires at least a basic anatomical knowledge. In
numerous studies, however, inaccurate, misleading or
even enigmatic terms such as genital nodes (Cain and
Rank, 1995) or tonsillar nodes (Deaglio et al., 1996)
have sometimes been assigned to murine lymph nodes.
The ambiguity of murine lymph node (ln.) nomenclature
is illustrated by the lymph node at the ear base of mice
which has been variably designated by various terms
such as parotid ln. (Cuq, 1966; Grassé, 1972; Popesko et
al., 1992), lateral mandibular ln. (Cuq, 1966), and facial
ln. (Wolvers et al., 1999), while numerous recent studies
refer to an allegedly auricular ln. (Anjuère et al., 1999;
Dearman et al., 1996; Sailstad et al., 1995) or pre-
Journal of Immunological Methods 312 (2006) 12 –19
Corresponding author. Tel.: +32 9 274 77 16; fax: +32 9 264 77 90.
E-mail address: wim.vandenbroeck@UGent.be
(W. Van den Broeck).
0022-1759/$ - see front matter © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.