Human mononuclear phagocytes comprise phenotypically and functionally overlapping subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) and monocytes, but the extent of their heterogeneity and distinct markers for subset identification remains elusive. By integrating high-dimensional single-cell protein and RNA expression data, we identified distinct markers to delineate monocytes from conventional DC2 (cDC2s). Using CD88 and CD89 for monocytes and HLA-DQ and FcεRIα for cDC2s allowed for their specific identification in blood and tissues. We also showed that cDC2s could be subdivided into phenotypically and functionally distinct subsets based on CD5, CD163, and CD14 expression, including a distinct subset of circulating inflammatory CD5-CD163+CD14+ cells related to previously defined DC3s. These inflammatory DC3s were expanded in systemic lupus erythematosus patients and correlated with disease activity. These findings further unravel the heterogeneity of DC subpopulations in health and disease and may pave the way for the identification of specific DC subset-targeting therapies.
Keywords: CD88; CD89; DC2; DC3; FcεRIα; SLE; dendritic cell; inflammatory DC; lupus; monocyte; pre-DC.
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