Dendritic cells in the respiratory tract

P. G. Holt, M. A. Schon-Hegrad, P. G. Mcmenamin

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Studies from several laboratories on lung tissue samples from human and experimental animals have identified la+ cells with characteristic pleiomorphic (dendritic) morphology in the epithelium and underlying connective tissue, in both the conducting airways and in the distal lung. These dendritic cells (DC) are particularly prominent within the airway epithelium, forming a contiguous network equivalent to the Langerhans cells network of the epidermis. They may be readily concentrated from enzymatically disrupted respiratory tract tissue samples on the basis of their physical properties (notably non-adherence, lack of Fc-receptors and ultra-low density on percoll), and function as highly effective antigen presenting cells in vitro. Evidence is also accumulating that respiratory tract DC populations respond dynamically to local tissue inflammation, and as such may play a prominent role in immunoinflammatory disease processes in the airways and the distal lung.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Reviews of Immunology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen presentation
  • Dendritic cells
  • Inflammation
  • La (class II MHC antigen)
  • Mucus membrane
  • Respiratory tract

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