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Clin Exp Immunol. 1996 Apr;104(1):124-32.

Distribution of human colonic dendritic cells and macrophages.

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Division of Clinical Sciences, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australia.


To define the phenotype of intestinal dendritic cells and macrophages, resected colonic specimens were used to obtain lamina propria cell suspensions by EDTA treatment, then enzymatic digestion. The phenotype of dendritic cell-enriched suspensions was compared with that of macrophage-enriched populations by immunocytochemistry using the avidin-biotin-peroxidase (ABC) system and immunoelectron microscopy. Dendritic cells expressed HLA-DR (L243) and HLA-DQ-associated (RFD) antigens and CD68 in a perinuclear distribution. Staining for S100 was weak or absent. Macrophages also expressed HLA markers (L243 and RFD1) and CD68. The 25F9 antigen was expressed strongly, whilst CD14 was absent from cells isolated from noninflamed tissues. To determine their anatomic distribution, immunohistochemistry was performed using single- and double-labelling techniques (ABC +or- alkaline phosphatase anti-alkaline phosphatase method). Mutually exclusive subsets of 25F9+ and S100+ cells were seen: 25F9+ macrophages were concentrated in a band immediately beneath the luminal epithelium; S100+/HLA-DR+ dendritic cells formed a reticular network throughout the lamina propria and beneath the basement membrane of the crypts. This distribution suggests that macrophages may help regulate intestinal responses by acting as the first line of defence against the entry of luminal antigens. A breach of the macrophage 'barrier' by invading antigens may necessitate the recruitment of T cell responses by immunostimulatory dendritic cells.

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