Tumour necrosis factor-alpha induces Langerhans cell migration in humans

Br J Dermatol. 1999 Aug;141(2):192-200. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.02964.x.


The role of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in the mobilization and migration of human epidermal Langerhans cells (LC) has been investigated. Intradermal injection of normal human volunteers with homologous recombinant TNF-alpha was found to cause a dose-dependent reduction in the frequency of LC within epidermal sheets 2 h later. Equivalent results were obtained when epidermal LC were identified on the basis of either CD1a or HLA-DR expression. At the dose of TNF-alpha used routinely (500 U), treatment resulted in an average reduction in LC density of approximately 24%. Treatment with TNF-alpha was associated with a perivascular polymorphonuclear infiltration at 2 h, but the epidermis appeared normal with neither fibrinoid necrosis nor vasculitis, and LC morphology was not affected significantly. These results demonstrate that TNF-alpha provides an important signal for LC migration in humans and is likely therefore to play a crucial part in the induction of cutaneous immune responses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD1 / immunology
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Langerhans Cells / drug effects*
  • Langerhans Cells / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Antigens, CD1
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha