A contiguous network of dendritic antigen-presenting cells within the respiratory epithelium

Patrick G. Holt, Michael A. Schon-Hegrad, Jane Oliver, Barbara J. Holt, Paul G. McMenamin

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This study utilises a simple technique to section airway epithelium in a plane parallel to the basement membrane, thus providing a unique plan view of the intraepithelial cell populations. Immunoperoxi-dase staining of these tissue sections for class II major histocompatibility complex la antigen reveals a virtually contiguous network of la-positive dendritic cells (DC) within the epithelium. These DC are shown to be capable of binding inhaled antigens in vivo in a form suitable for presentation to T cells. The strategic location of these cells and the fact that they account for virtually all staining in the airway epithelium during the steady state is convincing evidence that the DC network functions as the 'first line of defence' in surveillance for inhaled antigens and further suggests a major role for the intra-epithelial DC in allergic and infectious disease(s) in the respiratory tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-159
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Archives of Allergy and Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

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