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Immunobiology. 1991 Mar;182(2):135-42.

Langerhans cells in nasal mucosa of patients with grass pollen allergy.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Langerhans cells (LC) are known to be present in squamous epithelia of the human body. They are dendritic cells (DC) and characterized by the presence of Birbeck granules (BG). In previous studies, DC positive for CD1a and HLA-DR were found in the cylindrical epithelium and the lamina propria of the nasal mucosa. In our study, more CD1a cells occurred in the allergic patients than in the non-allergic controls. In a combined light microscopy (LM) and electron microscopy (EM) study, biopsies of nasal mucosa in allergic patients were studied. We used monoclonal antibodies against CD1a and HLA-DR, to identify DC in LM cryostat sections. The presence of BG identified most of the intra-epithelial DC as LC on the EM level, whereas a minority of DC in the lamina propria also contained BG. The ultrastructure of LC and DC in the ciliated cylindrical epithelium and the lamina propria is compared.

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