Characterization of interstitial dendritic cells in human liver

Transplantation. 1988 Nov;46(5):754-61. doi: 10.1097/00007890-198811000-00024.


Sensitive immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase techniques were used to test an extensive range of monoclonal antibodies for reactivity with Kupffer cells and interstitial dendritic cells (DCs) in cryostat-cut sections of human liver. Leucocytes with a dendritic cell morphology were identified with CD45 (antileucocyte common) reagents in portal tracts, predominantly around bile ducts, and these cells stained strongly for the HLA-DP, DQ, and DR antigens. Kupffer cells stained less intensely with anti-class-II reagents, particularly anti-HLA-DQ. The interstitial DCs expressed the LFA-1 antigen but failed to stain with CD11b, CD11c, and the defined T and B cell CD antibodies; nor did they stain with antibodies to FcR1, FcR11, FcRIII, or the C3b receptor. Of the myeloid monoclonal antibodies available from the 3rd Leucocyte Differentiation Antigen Workshop, only Y2/131, Ki-M7, Ki-M8, and a minority of CD14 antibodies stained DCs, whereas Kupffer cells showed a wider reactivity with antimacrophage antibodies including those of workshop groups 11, 15, 16, and other unique antibodies. A 2nd probable DC population was identified in the liver capsule that had a similar phenotype to portal interstitial DCs. Although some minor phenotypic differences between liver portal DCs and the phenotypes of Langerhans cells and isolated tonsil DCs were noted, our results support the view that there is a unique hemopoietic lineage of DCs. The presence of DCs, which stimulate strong allogeneic T cell responses, in the portal triads is consistent with the fact that the histologic changes of graft-versus-host disease seen in bone marrow transplantation and the lymphocytic infiltrate in a rejecting liver allograft occur predominantly in the periportal region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Cell Membrane / analysis
  • Dendritic Cells / analysis*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Kupffer Cells / analysis
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Complement / analysis
  • Receptors, Fc / analysis


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Receptors, Complement
  • Receptors, Fc