The CD8+ dendritic cell subset

Immunol Rev. 2010 Mar;234(1):18-31. doi: 10.1111/j.0105-2896.2009.00870.x.


Mouse lymphoid tissues contain a subset of dendritic cells (DCs) expressing CD8 alpha together with a pattern of other surface molecules that distinguishes them from other DCs. These molecules include particular Toll-like receptor and C-type lectin pattern recognition receptors. A similar DC subset, although lacking CD8 expression, exists in humans. The mouse CD8(+) DCs are non-migrating resident DCs derived from a precursor, distinct from monocytes, that continuously seeds the lymphoid organs from bone marrow. They differ in several key functions from their CD8(-) DC neighbors. They efficiently cross-present exogenous cell-bound and soluble antigens on major histocompatibility complex class I. On activation, they are major producers of interleukin-12 and stimulate inflammatory responses. In steady state, they have immune regulatory properties and help maintain tolerance to self-tissues. During infection with intracellular pathogens, they become major presenters of pathogen antigens, promoting CD8(+) T-cell responses to the invading pathogens. Targeting vaccine antigens to the CD8(+) DCs has proved an effective way to induce cytotoxic T lymphocytes and antibody responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • CD8 Antigens / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage* / immunology
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Integrin alpha Chains / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / immunology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Transcription Factors
  • alpha E integrins