Differentiation Kinetics of Blood Monocytes and Dendritic Cells in Macaques: Insights to Understanding Human Myeloid Cell Development

J Immunol. 2015 Aug 15;195(4):1774-81. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1500522. Epub 2015 Jul 15.


Monocyte and dendritic cell (DC) development was evaluated using in vivo BrdU pulse-chase analyses in rhesus macaques, and phenotype analyses of these cells in blood also were assessed by immunostaining and flow cytometry for comparisons among rhesus, cynomolgus, and pigtail macaques, as well as African green monkeys and humans. The nonhuman primate species and humans have three subsets of monocytes, CD14(+)CD16(-), CD14(+)CD16(+), and CD14(-)CD16(+) cells, which correspond to classical, intermediate, and nonclassical monocytes, respectively. In addition, there exist presently two subsets of DC, BDCA-1(+) myeloid DC and CD123(+) plasmacytoid DC, that were first confirmed in rhesus macaque blood. Following BrdU inoculation, labeled cells first appeared in CD14(+)CD16(-) monocytes, then in CD14(+)CD16(+) cells, and finally in CD14(-)CD16(+) cells, thus defining different stages of monocyte maturation. A fraction of the classical CD14(+)CD16(-) monocytes gradually expressed CD16(+) to become CD16(+)CD14(+) cells and subsequently matured into the nonclassical CD14(-)CD16(+) cell subset. The differentiation kinetics of BDCA-1(+) myeloid DC and CD123(+) plasmacytoid DC were distinct from the monocyte subsets, indicating differences in their myeloid cell origins. Results from studies utilizing nonhuman primates provide valuable information about the turnover, kinetics, and maturation of the different subsets of monocytes and DC using approaches that cannot readily be performed in humans and support further analyses to continue examining the unique myeloid cell origins that may be applied to address disease pathogenesis mechanisms and intervention strategies in humans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • CD11c Antigen / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Macaca
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology
  • Myeloid Cells / metabolism
  • Phenotype


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD11c Antigen