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J Immunol. 2010 Oct 15;185(8):4724-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001802. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Acute ablation of Langerhans cells enhances skin immune responses.

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Department of Dermatology, Center for Immunology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Understanding the function of Langerhans cells (LCs) in vivo has been complicated by conflicting results from LC-deficient mice. Human Langerin-DTA mice constitutively lack LCs and develop exaggerated contact hypersensitivity (CHS) responses. Murine Langerin-diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) mice allow for the inducible elimination of LCs and Langerin(+) dermal dendritic cells (dDCs) after administration of diphtheria toxin, which results in reduced CHS. When Langerin(+) dDCs have partially repopulated the skin but LCs are still absent, CHS returns to normal. Thus, LCs appear to be suppressive in human Langerin-DTA mice and redundant in murine Langerin-DTR mice. To determine whether inducible versus constitutive LC ablation explains these results, we engineered human Langerin-DTR mice in which diphtheria toxin ablates LCs without affecting Langerin(+) dDCs. The inducible ablation of LCs in human Langerin-DTR mice resulted in increased CHS. Thus, LC-mediated suppression does not require their absence during ontogeny or during the steady-state and is consistent with a model in which LCs actively suppress Ag-specific CHS responses.

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