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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Nov 11;94(23):12551-6.

Dendritic cell ontogeny: a human dendritic cell lineage of myeloid origin.

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Becton Dickinson Immunocytometry Systems, 2350 Qume Drive, San Jose, CA 95131, USA.


Dendritic cells (DC) have been thought to represent a family of closely related cells with similar functions and developmental pathways. The best-characterized precursors are the epidermal Langerhans cells, which migrate to lymphoid organs and become activated DC in response to inflammatory stimuli. Here, we demonstrate that a large subset of DC in the T cell-dependent areas of human lymphoid organs are nonactivated cells and belong to a separate lineage that can be identified by high levels of the interleukin 3 receptor alpha chain (IL-3Ralphahi). The CD34+IL-3Ralphahi DC progenitors are of myeloid origin and are distinct from those that give rise to Langerhans cells in vitro. The IL-3Ralphahi DC furthermore appear to migrate to lymphoid organs independently of inflammatory stimuli or foreign antigens. Thus, DC are heterogeneous with regard to function and ontogeny.

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