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Accumulation of Immature Langerhans Cells in Human Lymph Nodes Draining Chronically Inflamed Skin

Journal of Experimental Medicine
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1084/jem.20020018
  • Article
  • Biology


The coordinated migration and maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) such as intraepithelial Langerhans cells (LCs) is considered critical for T cell priming in response to inflammation in the periphery. However, little is known about the role of inflammatory mediators for LC maturation and recruitment to lymph nodes in vivo. Here we show in human dermatopathic lymphadenitis (DL), which features an expanded population of LCs in one draining lymph node associated with inflammatory lesions in its tributary skin area, that the Langerin/CD207+ LCs constitute a predominant population of immature DCs, which express CD1a, and CD68, but not CD83, CD86, and DC–lysosomal-associated membrane protein (LAMP)/CD208. Using LC-type cells generated in vitro in the presence of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, we further found that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, as a prototype proinflammatory factor, and a variety of inflammatory stimuli and bacterial products, increase Langerin expression and Langerin dependent Birbeck granules formation in cell which nevertheless lack costimulatory molecules, DC–LAMP/CD208 and potent T cell stimulatory activity but express CCR7 and respond to the lymph node homing chemokines CCL19 and CCL21. This indicates that LC migration and maturation can be independently regulated events. We suggest that during DL, inflammatory stimuli in the skin increase the migration of LCs to the lymph node but without associated maturation. Immature LCs might regulate immune responses during chronic inflammation.

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