Immunohistochemical study of CD34-positive dendritic cells of human dermis

Am J Dermatopathol. 1996 Jun;18(3):283-8. doi: 10.1097/00000372-199606000-00008.


The human dermis contains a heterogeneous network of cells with a dendritic morphology, including factor XIIIa+ dermal dendrocytes and CD34+ dendritic cells located around epidermal adnexae. Whereas dermal dendrocytes have been immunohistochemically studied, CD34+ dermal cells have not yet been well characterized. We studied by simple and double immunolabeling techniques on tissue sections of normal human skin the phenotype of these cells and found them to express vimentin and Te7 but none of the remaining markers sought (factor XIIIa, von Willebrand factor, CD1a, CD3, CD4, CD8, CD14, CD25, CD36, CD45, CD54, CD56, LFA-1, EGF-R, S-100 protein, Mac 387, and muscle-specific actin). Rare CD34+ cells of the interstitial dermis expressed human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR antigens, but this was not the case for periadnexal CD34+ cells. These results show that CD34+ dendritic cells of human dermis are mesenchymal cells bearing a unique immunophenotype different from that of (myo)fibroblasts, monocytes-macrophages, Langerhans cells, and factor XIIIa+ dermal dendrocytes. Whereas the involvement of CD34+ cells in some cutaneous tumors is well known, their physiologic role in normal skin remains to be established. On the basis of our results, we speculate that these cells could represent uncommitted mesenchymal cells, unique by virtue of CD34 antigen expression.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Antigens, CD1 / analysis
  • Antigens, CD34 / analysis*
  • CD3 Complex / analysis
  • CD36 Antigens / analysis
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD56 Antigen / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / analysis
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1 / analysis
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / analysis
  • S100 Proteins / analysis
  • Skin / cytology*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Transglutaminases / analysis
  • Vimentin / analysis
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis


  • Actins
  • Antigens, CD1
  • Antigens, CD34
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD36 Antigens
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD56 Antigen
  • CD8 Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Lymphocyte Function-Associated Antigen-1
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • S100 Proteins
  • Vimentin
  • von Willebrand Factor
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Transglutaminases
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens