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J Immunol. 2004 Oct 15;173(8):5275-82.

IgE-mediated mast cell activation induces Langerhans cell migration in vivo.

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  • 1Dalhousie Inflammation Group, Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Langerhans cells and mast cells are both resident in large numbers in the skin and act as sentinel cells in host defense. The ability of mast cells to induce Langerhans cell migration from the skin to the draining lymph node in vivo was examined. Genetically mast cell-deficient (W/Wv) mice and control mice were sensitized with IgE Ab in the ear pinna. Seven to 14 days later, mice were challenged with Ag i.v. After a further 18-24 h, epidermal sheets and draining auricular lymph nodes were examined using Langerin/CD207 immunostaining. In mast cell-containing mice, a significant decrease in the number of Langerhans cells was observed at epidermal sites of mast cell activation. A significant increase in total cellularity and accumulation of Langerin-positive dendritic cells was observed in the auricular lymph nodes, draining the sites of IgE-mediated mast cell activation. These changes were not observed in W/Wv mice, but were restored by local mast cell reconstitution. Treatment of mast cell-containing mice with the H2 receptor antagonist cimetidine significantly inhibited the observed IgE/Ag-induced changes in Langerhans cell location. In contrast, Langerhans cell migration in response to LPS challenge was not mast cell dependent. These data directly demonstrate the ability of mast cells to induce dendritic cell migration to lymph nodes following IgE-mediated activation in vivo by a histamine-dependent mechanism.

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