Human Langerhans Cells

  • Thomas Bieber


Similar to gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) (1), the skin has been provided, by evolutionary pressure, with a proper immune system. The so-called skin-associated lymphoid tissue (SALT) (2) or skin immune system (SIS) (3) contains all elements required for recognition and efficient immune response against foreign structures invading this interface epithelium, which is in close contact with the environment. In this first line of immunosurveillance in the epidermis, as in other interface epithelia, professional antigen-presenting cells, i.e., dendritic cells (DC), play a key role that has been best established by studying the immunobiology of Langerhans cells (LC). In this review, we will summarize the most important aspects of these cells and discuss their physiological and pathophysiological role in IgE-mediated immune reactions. (Although the vast majority of the data has been collected in animal models, e.g., in the murine system, one should be aware that there are some important discrepancies between the human and murine LC and SIS. These will be mentioned appropriately whenever necessary.)


Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Primary Immune Response Antigen Uptake Secondary Immune Response Skin Immune System 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

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  • Thomas Bieber

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