Ontogeny and functional specialization of dendritic cells in human and mouse

Adv Immunol. 2013:120:1-49. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-417028-5.00001-6.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are a heterogeneous group of functionally specialized antigen-presenting cells that initiate and orchestrate immune responses. Our understanding of DC immunobiology has been largely shaped by research using murine models. The relevance of murine findings on human DC organization and function is only just beginning to be investigated. In this chapter, we present the key historical developments and recent advances in human and mouse DC research to contextualize the existing knowledge on DC subset origin and functional specializations. We also propose a framework to align human and mouse DC networks to enhance our understanding of the parallel organization of DCs in both species in order to facilitate the full exploitation of our knowledge on DC biology and function for clinical therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Differentiation; Functional specialization; Human dendritic cells; Immune functions; Interspecies transcriptomic analysis; Mononuclear phagocyte system; Mouse dendritic cells; Ontogeny; Origin; Subsets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dendritic Cells / classification
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System / cytology


  • Antigens, CD