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J Invest Dermatol. 2002 Feb;118(2):327-34.

Expression and function of the mannose receptor CD206 on epidermal dendritic cells in inflammatory skin diseases.

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Dermatologie und Allergologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.


The capability to take up mannosylated protein antigens is important for the biologic function of dendritic cells, as many glycoproteins derived from bacteria and fungi, e.g., Malassezia furfur, are mannosylated. The expression of the mannose receptor CD206 has been regarded a differentiation hallmark of immature dendritic cells, whereas monocytes and mature dendritic cells as well as epidermal Langerhans cells do not express CD206. This study describes some epidermal dendritic cells that may express CD206 under inflammatory skin conditions: Immunohistochemical and flow cytometric analysis with the CD206-specific D547 antibody confirmed that Langerhans cells from normal human skin do not express CD206. Epidermal cell suspensions from atopic dermatitis and psoriasis revealed two distinct subsets of epidermal dendritic cells: a CD1a(+++)/CD206(-) cell population (i.e., Langerhans cells) and a CD1a(+)/CD206(++) cell population, corresponding to the previously described inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells. CD206-mediated endocytosis, assessed by dextran-fluorescein isothiocyanate uptake, was demonstrated in inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells but not in Langerhans cells. CD206-independent uptake of the fluorescent dye Lucifer yellow, a pinocytosis marker, was demonstrated in both Langerhans cells and inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells. Electron microscopic examination, known to distinguish Langerhans cells from inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells by their Birbeck granules, revealed Langerhans cells with Birbeck granules and inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells without Birbeck granules. Inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells exhibited numerous coated pits and vesicles, the latter fusing with large endosome-like structures, thus suggesting a high endocytotic activity. Immunogold staining with D547 monoclonal antibody confirmed that inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells were positive for CD206. In conclusion, inflammatory dendritic epidermal cells but not Langerhans cells are expressing CD206 in situ and use it for receptor-mediated endocytosis.

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