Characterization of chicken epidermal dendritic cells

Botond Zoltán Igyártó, Erzsébet Lackó, Imre Oláh, Attila Magyar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


It has been known for 15 years that the chicken epidermis contains ATPase+ and major histocompatibility complex class II-positive (MHCII+) dendritic cells. These cells were designated as Langerhans cells but neither their detailed phenotype nor their function was further investigated. In the present paper we demonstrate a complete overlapping of ATPase, CD45 and vimentin staining in all dendritic cells of the chicken epidermis. The CD45+ ATPase+ vimentin+ dendritic cells could be divided into three subpopulations: an MHCII+ CD3- KUL01+ and 68.1+ (monocyte-macrophage subpopulation markers) subpopulation, an MHCII- CD3- KUL01- and 68.1- subpopulation and an MHCII- CD3+ KUL01- and 68.1- subpopulation. The first population could be designated as chicken Langerhans cells. The last population represents CD4- CD8- T-cell receptor-αβ - and -γδ- natural killer cells with cytoplasmic CD3 positivity. The epidermal dendritic cells have a low proliferation rate as assessed by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation. Both in vivo and in vitro experiments showed that dendritic cells could be mobilized from the epidermis. Hapten treatment of epidermis resulted in the decrease of the frequency of epidermal dendritic cells and hapten-loaded dendritic cells appeared in the dermis or in in vitro culture of isolated epidermis. Hapten-positive cells were also found in the so-called dermal lymphoid nodules. We suggest that these dermal nodules are responsible for some regional immunological functions similar to the mammalian lymph nodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine
  • Chicken
  • Langerhans cells
  • Natural killer cells
  • Skin immunization


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