The JLB Legacy

History of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology

The Journal of Leukocyte Biology (JLB) has its origins in the Journal of the Reticuloendothelial Society (JRES) and is today an increasingly highly recognized international journal reporting scientific advances in leukocyte biology.

In 1922, Karl Albert Ludwig Aschoff (1866–1942) coined the term “reticuloendothelial system” (RES) [1]. The RES concept was introduced as early as 1914 by Kenji Kiyono (1855–1955). One of the most prominent characteristics of RES cells was their propensity for absorption and storage of vital stains in granular form that had been introduced into the blood in solution.

In 1955, the Reticuloendothelial Society was created. Charles A. Doan (1896–1990), a renowned hematologist, professor of medicine, and director of the Ohio State University Hospital, was nominated as the first president. In 1964, the society launched JLB’s precursor, JRES. The first JRES table of contents can be viewed by clicking here.

As early as 1934, Roger Denio Baker (1902–1994), a professor of pathology at Duke, mentioned that the term reticuloendothielial system was improper—but it had been so commonly employed that it was impossible to change! Indeed, the name was based on the mistaken concept that macrophages and endothelial cells encompassed the major mononuclear phagocytic cell types and arose from precursor cells present in major organs such as the liver and spleen. This error was rectified by the findings of Ralph Van Furth and his colleagues who clearly showed that macrophages originated from bone marrow-derived progenitor cells [2]. In 1984, the recognition that macrophages and other leukocytes are all derived from bone marrow hematopoietic cells led the Council of the Reticuloendothelial Society, under the leadership of Drs. Carol Nacy and Monte Meltzer, to change its name to the Society for Leukocyte Biology and to update that of the journal to the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. This broadened the scope of the journal to cover topics involving all cell types participating in host defense. JRES was under the direction of a number editors between 1964 and 1994, including A. S. Gordon, B. N. Halpern, J. W. Rebuck. Quenten Myrvik (1974 to 1980), and Carleton Stewart (1981 to1994) who oversaw the transition to JLB. More recent, longer-term editors include Joost J. Oppenheim (1994 to 2008), and Luis J. Montaner (2009 to the present).

Representative journal covers for JRES and JLB that depict the evolution of the journal over time are shown below. Click the image to see each cover as a PDF.

JLB Cover Composite


1. Cavailon, J-M. (2011) The historical milestones in the understanding of leukocyte biology initiated by Elie Metchnikoff. J. Leukoc. Biol,. 90:413-424; doi: 10.1189/jlb.0211094.

2. Van Furth, R. (1975) Mononuclear phagocytes in immunity, infection and pathology, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK. 1–1047.

JLB thanks Joost J. Oppenheim, Luis J. Montaner, Jean-Marc Cavailon, and the many Editorial Board members and staff who assisted in writing this piece.


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