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Nat Immunol. 2006 Mar;7(3):265-73. Epub 2006 Jan 29.

Langerhans cells arise from monocytes in vivo.

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Department of Gene and Cell Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Langerhans cells (LCs) are the only dendritic cells of the epidermis and constitute the first immunological barrier against pathogens and environmental insults. The factors regulating LC homeostasis remain elusive and the direct circulating LC precursor has not yet been identified in vivo. Here we report an absence of LCs in mice deficient in the receptor for colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) in steady-state conditions. Using bone marrow chimeric mice, we have established that CSF-1 receptor-deficient hematopoietic precursors failed to reconstitute the LC pool in inflamed skin. Furthermore, monocytes with high expression of the monocyte marker Gr-1 (also called Ly-6c/G) were specifically recruited to the inflamed skin, proliferated locally and differentiated into LCs. These results identify Gr-1(hi) monocytes as the direct precursors for LCs in vivo and establish the importance of the CSF-1 receptor in this process.

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