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Immunol Cell Biol. 2000 Apr;78(2):91-102.

Dendritic cells: immunological sentinels with a central role in health and disease.

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School of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Rheumatology, University of Leeds and Department of Surgery, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, United Kingdom.


Immunological effector cells must be sensitive to the antigens or environmental signals that indicate that a pathogen is present. To this end, a group of cells known as the professional antigen-presenting cells have the ability to educate T, B and NK cells as to the fingerprints of specific infections. The most adept of these cells are a closely related family termed dendritic cells (DC). A subset of these act as peripheral sentinels, specializing in the uptake, processing and presentation of antigenic material combined with an ability to detect a wide variety of 'danger' signals. These 'danger' or activation signals induce profound changes in dendritic cell physiology, facilitating the efficient stimulation of both adaptive and innate immunity. In the present review, a number of recent advances in the understanding of DC biology are discussed. These advances offer insights into the pathogenesis of a wide variety of diseases and point towards future strategies for immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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