Plasmacytoid dendritic cells represent a major dendritic cell subset in sentinel lymph nodes of melanoma patients and accumulate in metastatic nodes

Clin Immunol. 2007 Nov;125(2):184-93. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2007.07.018. Epub 2007 Sep 10.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) represent the main source of interferon-alpha, a cytokine with antitumor activity. However, in vitro studies point to pDC as a key subset for induction of tolerance. Herein, we investigated pDC in sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) of melanoma patients. We report that pDC were constantly found in SLN and represented, with Langerhans cells, the most frequent dendritic cell subset. Their frequency in positive (with metastasis) SLN was significantly higher than in negative (without metastasis) SLN. PDC were observed in the T cell-rich areas of lymph nodes, particularly around high endothelial venules and, in metastatic nodes, they accumulated in close vicinity with melanoma nests. Finally, pDC capability to produce interferon-alpha in situ was impaired. Consistently, pDC expressed CD86, but neither CD80 nor CD83, suggesting a not complete activation in melanoma-draining lymph nodes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis of a tolerogenic role played by pDC in tumor immunology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • B7-1 Antigen / immunology
  • B7-2 Antigen / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / pathology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins / immunology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interferon-alpha / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-alpha / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • B7-1 Antigen
  • B7-2 Antigen
  • CD83 antigen
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Membrane Glycoproteins