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Cell Tissue Res. 2011 Jan;343(1):33-41. doi: 10.1007/s00441-010-1030-4. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Mucosal dendritic cell diversity in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan, 120 Veterinary Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E3, Canada.


The discovery of dendritic cells (DCs) in skin by Paul Langerhans in 1868 identified a cell type which has since been recognized as a key link between innate and adaptive immunity. DCs originate from bone marrow and disseminate through blood to all tissues in the body, and distinct DC subpopulations have been identified in many different tissues. DC diversity is apparent throughout all mucosal surfaces of the body, but the focus of this review article is DC diversity throughout the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT). DC subpopulations have been well characterized in the oral cavity and small intestine, but DC characterization in other regions, such as the esophagus and stomach, is limited. Substantial research has focused on DC function during disease, but understanding the regulation of inflammation and the induction of acquired immune responses requires combined phenotypic and functional characterization of individual DC subpopulations. Furthermore, little is known regarding mucosal DC subpopulations in the GIT of the neonate and how these DC populations change following colonization by commensal microflora. The current review will highlight mucosal DC diversity and discuss factors that may influence mucosal DC differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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