Dendritic cells are present in most parts of the human body; and have huge amount of dendrites on their cell surfaces. These identify, engulf, and process external pathogens. These then moves to the lymph nodes located nearby, and interact with other immune cells to activate a pathogen-specific immune response. Thus they play an important role in guarding the immune system.

Researchers from the University Hospital Erlangen of the FAU (friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nurnberg) and the LIMES (Life and Medical Sciences) Institute of the University of Bonn for the first time have studied the human dendritic cells.

They have systematically characterized human dendritic cells in blood, cord blood, bone-marrow, tonsils, thymus, and spleen. They figured out different subtypes of dendritic cells, estimated their distribution across different organs, and recognized significant cell surface proteins. They found that the surface profiles of the same subtype of dendritic cells are constant all through the different tissues.

They also analyzed the genetic information (RNA) of the dendritic cells of the human thymus, blood and spleen. These results help in understanding the basic characteristics of human dendritic cells. This is expected to contribute to future development of innovative immune therapies.

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