Dendritic Cells

  • Weiping Zou
  • Tyler J. Curiel
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)


Dendritic cells (DCs) have been called “nature’s adjuvant” because of their remarkable ability to elicit adaptive, antigen-specific immunity. Immature DCs are highly specialized to capture antigens, but are poor at priming or activating T-cells. Following antigen capture or in a proinflammatory environment, DCs undergo a process of maturation in which antigen-carrying capacity is greatly reduced as T-cell priming and activating capacity are increased.

DCs are tightly regulated by expression of chemokine receptors whose expression varies according to the maturation state, microenvironmental milieu, and type of DC. Three principal subsets of human DCs are recognized: Langerhans’ DCs, myeloid DCs, and plasmacytoid DCs. Much is now known regarding the lineage origins and specialized functions of these subsets, although much remains to be learned, and controversies abound.

Key Words

Human dendritic cell adaptive immunity T cell immunotherapy chemokines Langerhans’ cells clinical trial cancer 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weiping Zou
    • 1
  • Tyler J. Curiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of MedicineTulane Medical SchoolNew Orleans

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