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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 16;103(20):7783-8. Epub 2006 May 3.

Langerhans cells cross-present antigen derived from skin.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Innsbruck Medical University, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Dendritic cells (DC) efficiently cross-present exogenous antigen on MHC class I molecules to CD8+ T cells. However, little is known about cross-presentation by Langerhans cells (LC), the DCs of the epidermis. Therefore, we investigated this issue in detail. Isolated murine LCs were able to cross-present soluble ovalbumin protein on MHC-class I molecules to antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, albeit less potently than the CD8+ DC subsets from spleen. Furthermore, LCs cross-presented cell-associated ovalbumin peptide and protein expressed by neighboring keratinocytes. Use of transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP-1)-deficient mice suggested a TAP-dependent pathway. Similar observations were made with migratory LC. Antigen expressed in the epidermis was ingested by LCs during migration from the epidermis and presented to antigen-specific T cells in vitro. Cross-presentation of ovalbumin protein by LCs induced IFN-gamma production and cytotoxicity in antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Additionally, epicutaneous application of ovalbumin protein induced in vivo proliferation of OT-I T cells in the draining lymph nodes; this was markedly enhanced when antigen was applied to inflamed, barrier-disrupted skin. Thus, LCs cross-present exogenous antigen to CD8+ T cells and induce effector functions, like cytokine production and cytotoxicity, and may thereby critically contribute in epicutaneous vaccination approaches.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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