Send to

Choose Destination
Immunol Lett. 2003 Mar 3;86(1):7-14.

Technique for obtaining highly enriched, quiescent immature Langerhans cells suitable for ex vivo assays.

Author information

Groupe Immunité des Muqueuses et Agents Pathogènes, Equipe d'Accueil, 3064, Faculté de Médecine, Université Jean Monnet de Saint Etienne, 15 rue Ambroise Paré, 42023 Saint-Etienne Cedex, France.


Epidermis and surface epithelium-dendritic cells comprise of immature cells termed Langerhans cells (LCs), which express characteristically the Birbeck granules, along with surface markers such as CD1a. These cells can capture a pathogen and then migrate and differentiate to a more mature stage. During this maturation process, dentritic cells express surface markers differentially. In physio-pathological models of infection where LCs are involved, it is critically important to ensure that the LCs tested in vitro are still immature and are not artefactually matured-dentritic cells. For experimental purposes, LCs were isolated from skin epidermis obtained from patients undergoing plastic surgery. This work thus aimed at collecting fresh LCs ex vivo and at testing the cells for phenotypic and functional characteristics of the immature stage. After mechanic disruption of the epidermis and proceeding for single cell suspension obtaining, two methods for purification were tested in parallel: (a) a positive immuno-magnetic separation by anti-CD1a-coated beads and (b) a purely mechanic purification system based on a three-step Ficoll floatation process. Both systems were equally efficient in terms of purification and yield. By using flow cytometry phenotyping, we have demonstrated that the use of magnetic beads led to some degree of maturation of CD1a(+) LCs, contrary to the repeated Ficoll floatation. This work calls attention for the use of certain monoclonal antibodies such as anti-CD1a to purify immature dendritic cells as they pre-activate these cells. Pre-activation would render a number of assays on the early events of LC physiology invalid, contrary to the purification of fresh skin epidermis LCs by means of a repeated Ficoll floatation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center