Human skin dendritic cells in health and disease

J Dermatol Sci. 2015 Feb;77(2):85-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2014.08.012. Epub 2014 Sep 10.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized antigen presenting cells abundant in peripheral tissues such as skin where they function as immune sentinels. Skin DCs migrate to draining lymph node where they interact with naïve T cells to induce immune responses to microorganisms, vaccines, tumours and self-antigens. In this review, we present the key historical developments and recent advances in human skin DC research. We also integrate the current understanding on the origin and functional specializations of DC subsets in healthy skin with findings in inflammatory skin diseases focusing on psoriasis and atopic eczema. A comprehensive understanding of the dynamic changes in DC subsets in health and disease will form a strong foundation to facilitate the clinical translation of DC-based therapeutic and vaccination strategies.

Keywords: Antigen presenting cells; Dendritic cells; Mononuclear phagocytes; Skin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / physiology
  • CD11 Antigens / physiology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Langerhans Cells / classification
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology*
  • Langerhans Cells / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / physiology
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System / physiology
  • Psoriasis / immunology*
  • Psoriasis / pathology
  • Thrombomodulin


  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD11 Antigens
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • THBD protein, human
  • Thrombomodulin