Although fish constitute the most ancient animal group in which an acquired immune system is present, the presence of dendritic cells (DCs) in teleosts has been addressed only briefly, and the identification of a specific DC subset in teleosts remained elusive because of the lack of specific Abs. In mice, DCs expressing CD8α(+) in lymphoid tissues have the capacity to cross-present extracellular Ags to T cells through MHC I, similarly to tissue-derived CD103(+) DCs and the human CD141(+) DC population. In the current study, we identified a large and highly complex subpopulation of leukocytes coexpressing MHC class II and CD8α. This CD8α(+) MHC II(+) DC-like subpopulation constituted ∼1.2% of the total leukocyte population in the skin, showing phenotypical and functional characteristics of semimature DCs that seem to locally regulate mucosal immunity and tolerance in a species lacking lymph nodes. Furthermore, we identified trout homologs for CD141 and CD103 and demonstrated that, in trout, this skin CD8(+) DC-like subpopulation expresses both markers. To our knowledge, these results provide the first evidence of a specific DC-like subtype in nonimmune tissue in teleosts and support the hypothesis of a common origin for all mammalian cross-presenting DCs.
Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.