Accumulation of immature Langerhans cells in human lymph nodes draining chronically inflamed skin

J Exp Med. 2002 Aug 19;196(4):417-30. doi: 10.1084/jem.20020018.


The coordinated migration and maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) such as intraepithelial Langerhans cells (LCs) is considered critical for T cell priming in response to inflammation in the periphery. However, little is known about the role of inflammatory mediators for LC maturation and recruitment to lymph nodes in vivo. Here we show in human dermatopathic lymphadenitis (DL), which features an expanded population of LCs in one draining lymph node associated with inflammatory lesions in its tributary skin area, that the Langerin/CD207(+) LCs constitute a predominant population of immature DCs, which express CD1a, and CD68, but not CD83, CD86, and DC-lysosomal-associated membrane protein (LAMP)/CD208. Using LC-type cells generated in vitro in the presence of transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1, we further found that tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, as a prototype proinflammatory factor, and a variety of inflammatory stimuli and bacterial products, increase Langerin expression and Langerin dependent Birbeck granules formation in cell which nevertheless lack costimulatory molecules, DC-LAMP/CD208 and potent T cell stimulatory activity but express CCR7 and respond to the lymph node homing chemokines CCL19 and CCL21. This indicates that LC migration and maturation can be independently regulated events. We suggest that during DL, inflammatory stimuli in the skin increase the migration of LCs to the lymph node but without associated maturation. Immature LCs might regulate immune responses during chronic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL19
  • Chemokine CCL21
  • Chemokines, CC / immunology
  • Chemokines, CC / pharmacology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Langerhans Cells / cytology
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology*
  • Langerhans Cells / physiology
  • Lectins, C-Type*
  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphadenitis / immunology*
  • Lymphadenitis / pathology
  • Male
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins*
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Mycobacterium bovis / immunology
  • Receptors, CCR7
  • Receptors, Chemokine / immunology
  • Skin / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Biomarkers
  • CCL19 protein, human
  • CCL21 protein, human
  • CCR7 protein, human
  • CD207 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL19
  • Chemokine CCL21
  • Chemokines, CC
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins
  • Receptors, CCR7
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha