Langerin expressing cells promote skin immune responses under defined conditions

Liangchun Wang, Laura S. Bursch, Adrien Kissenpfennig, Bernard Malissen, Stephen C. Jameson, Kristin A. Hogquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


There are conflicting data in the literature regarding the role of epidermal Langerhans cells (LC) in promoting skin immune responses. On one hand, LC can be extremely potent APCs in vitro, and are thought to be involved in contact hypersensitivity (CHS). On the other hand, it seems counterintuitive that a cell type continually exposed to pathogens at the organism's barrier surfaces should readily trigger potent T cell responses. Indeed, LC depletion in one model led to enhanced contact hypersensitivity, suggesting they play a negative regulatory role. However, apparently similar LC depletion models did not show enhanced CHS, and in one case showed reduced CHS. In this study we found that acute depletion of mouse LC reduced CHS, but the timing of toxin administration was critical: toxin administration 3 days before priming did not impair CHS, whereas toxin administration 1 day before priming did. We also show that LC elimination reduced the T cell response to epicutaneous immunization with OVA protein Ag. However, this reduction was only observed when OVA was applied on the flank skin, and not on the ear. Additionally, peptide immunization was not blocked by depletion, regardless of the site. Finally we show that conditions which eliminate epidermal LC but spare other Langerin + DC do not impair the epicutaneous immunization response to OVA. Overall, our results reconcile previous conflicting data in the literature, and suggest that Langerin+ cells do promote T cell responses to skin Ags, but only under defined conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4722-4727
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


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