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Immunity. 2005 May;22(5):643-54.

Dynamics and function of Langerhans cells in vivo: dermal dendritic cells colonize lymph node areas distinct from slower migrating Langerhans cells.

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, INSERM-CNRS-Université de la Méditerranée, Parc Scientifique et Technologique de Luminy, Case 906, 13288 Marseille Cedex 09, France.


Langerhans cells (LCs) are prominent dendritic cells (DCs) in epithelia, but their role in immunity is poorly defined. To track and discriminate LCs from dermal DCs in vivo, we developed knockin mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the langerin (CD207) gene. By using vital imaging, we showed that most EGFP(+) LCs were sessile under steady-state conditions, whereas skin inflammation induced LC motility and emigration to lymph nodes (LNs). After skin immunization, dermal DCs arrived in LNs first and colonized areas distinct from slower migrating LCs. LCs reaching LNs under steady-state or inflammatory conditions expressed similar levels of costimulatory molecules. Langerin and EGFP were also expressed on thymic DCs and on blood-derived, CD8alpha(+) DCs from all secondary lymphoid organs. By using a similar knockin strategy involving a diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) fused to EGFP, we demonstrated that LCs were dispensable for triggering hapten-specific T cell effectors through skin immunization.

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