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J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Sep;125(3):482-90.

Human epidermal and monocyte-derived langerhans cells express functional P2X receptors.

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Department of Medicine, University of Sydney at Nepean Hospital, Penrith, NSW, Australia.


Monocyte-derived dendritic cells (Mo-DC) express functional P2X7 receptors; however, the expression of these receptors on tissue-derived dendritic cells including epidermal Langerhans cells (LC) is unknown. Using immunolabeling and flow cytometry, we demonstrated that P2X7 was present on both human epidermal LC and monocyte-derived LC (Mo-LC), as well as on human keratinocytes. The ecto-ATPDase (CD39) was also present on LC, but not keratinocytes. The P2X7 agonists, 2'- and 3'-0(4-benzoylbenzoyl) adenosine 5'-triphosphate (BzATP) or ATP, but neither adenosine 5'-diphosphate (ADP) nor uridine 5'-triphosphate (UTP), induced ethidium+ uptake into these cells. Furthermore, ATP-induced ethidium+ uptake into epidermal LC, Mo-LC and keratinocytes was inhibited by the specific P2X7 antagonist, KN-62 (1-[N,O-bis(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-N-methyl-L-tyrosyl]-4-phenylpiperazine). ATP-induced ethidium+ uptake into Mo-LC and Mo-DC was 2- and 3-fold greater, respectively, than that for fresh monocytes. P2X7 activation on LC induced downstream signaling events, as BzATP or ATP, but neither ADP nor UTP, induced shedding of the low-affinity receptor for IgE (CD23) from Mo-LC. This process was inhibited by KN-62. Finally, ATP-induced ethidium+ uptake and CD23 shedding were impaired in Mo-LC obtained from subjects homozygous for the loss-of-function Glu-496 to Ala polymorphism in the P2X7 receptor. These results demonstrate that human LC express functional P2X7 receptors, and suggest a role for this receptor in the skin immune system.

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