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Review
. 1997 Aug 1;38(3):267-75.
doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0029(19970801)38:3<267::AID-JEMT7>3.0.CO;2-J.

Human Thymic Dendritic Cells

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Review

Human Thymic Dendritic Cells

M Lafontaine et al. Microsc Res Tech. .

Abstract

ABSTRACT Human thymic dendritic cells (DC) represent a member of the bone marrow-derived dendritic cell family. They have a dendritic shape and are found in small numbers mainly at the corticomedullary border and in medullary regions of the thymus. Human thymic DC were isolated by density gradient separation, followed by treatment with CD2, CD7, CD1, and CD11b mAb and immunobeads magnetic separation. The resulting population contains 60-75% brightly HLA-DR+ cells which present the morphological characteristics of DC observed in situ. Extensive phenotypic analysis confirmed that they are of mesenchymal origin and that some express CD11a and CD54 molecules. Freshly isolated DC do not stain with a wide variety of anti-T-B and -monocyte or -macrophage mAb. However, they acquire the CD1 molecule after a few days in culture. By using a cell sorter we obtained 90-95% of purified human thymic DC. Functional studies have shown that human thymic DC are potent activators in mixed lymphocyte reactions, act as accessory cells in mitogenic thymocyte proliferation, increase the thymocyte proliferative response to a toxin signal, and produce IL-1. They also formed spontaneous physical associations with thymocytes, which raises questions about the implication of DC in differentiation and/or maturation processes of thymocytes.

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