Origin, homeostasis and function of Langerhans cells and other langerin-expressing dendritic cells

Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Dec;8(12):935-47. doi: 10.1038/nri2455.


Langerhans cells (LCs) are a specialized subset of dendritic cells (DCs) that populate the epidermal layer of the skin. Langerin is a lectin that serves as a valuable marker for LCs in mice and humans. In recent years, new mouse models have led to the identification of other langerin(+) DC subsets that are not present in the epidermis, including a subset of DCs that is found in most non-lymphoid tissues. In this Review we describe new developments in the understanding of the biology of LCs and other langerin(+) DCs and discuss the challenges that remain in identifying the role of different DC subsets in tissue immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis*
  • Antigens, Surface / biosynthesis*
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology
  • Langerhans Cells / metabolism
  • Langerhans Cells / physiology*
  • Lectins, C-Type / biosynthesis*
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins / biosynthesis*
  • Mice


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD207 protein, human
  • Cd207 protein, mouse
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins