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Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells capture protein antigens in the skin: possible targets for vaccination through the skin



Langerhans cells and dermal dendritic cells capture protein antigens in the skin: possible targets for vaccination through the skin



Immunobiology 215(9-10): 770-779



Dendritic cells capture and process antigen and present it to T lymphocytes in the lymphoid organs. Dendritic cells of the skin, including epidermal Langerhans cells, langerin(+) and langerin(negative) dermal dendritic cells are ideally positioned to take up pathogens that enter the body through the skin or vaccines that are administered into (intradermal) or onto (epicutaneous) the skin. The antigen uptake properties of skin dendritic cells have not thoroughly been studied yet. We therefore investigated the uptake of the fluorochrome-conjugated model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) by skin dendritic cells in the mouse. OVA was readily taken up by immature Langerhans cells both in situ and in cell suspensions. When offered to Langerhans cells in situ either by "bathing" skin explants in OVA-containing culture medium or by intradermal injection they retained the captured OVA for at least 2-3 days when migrating into the culture medium and, importantly, into the draining lymph nodes. Also langerin(+) and - to a larger extent - langerin(negative) skin dendritic cells took up and transported OVA to the lymph nodes. Interestingly, mature Langerhans cells were still capable of ingesting substantial amounts of OVA, indicating that predominantly receptor-mediated endocytosis is operative in these cells. Unlike macropinocytosis, this pathway of endocytosis is not shut down upon dendritic cell maturation. These observations indicate that in intradermal vaccination schemes, Langerhans cells from the epidermis are prominently involved. They were recently shown to possess the capacity to induce functional cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Furthermore, the potential to markedly enhance antigen uptake and processing by targeting antigen to c-type lectin receptors on Langerhans cells was also recently demonstrated. Our data provide a rationale and an incentive to explore in more detail antigen targeting to Langerhans cells with the aim of harnessing it for immunotherapy.

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Accession: 054068070

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PMID: 20599290

DOI: 10.1016/j.imbio.2010.05.014


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