Langerhans cells as macrophages in skin and lymphoid organs

G. J. Thorbecke, I. Silberberg-Sinakin, T. J. Flotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Properties of epidermal Langerhans cell were compared with those of a number of other dendritic cells in lymphoid organs and of mononuclear phagocytes. Among the dendritic 'reticulum' cells included were indeterminate dendritic cells from the epidermis, interdigitating 'reticulum' cells from T-dependent areas of lymphoid tissue and thymus, follicular dendritic cells of Nossal, and the dendritic cells described by Steinman and Cohn. Interdigitating cells with typical Birbeck granules, in the thymus and in the paracortices of lymph nodes, which are morphologically indistinguishable from Langerhans cells and indeterminate dendritic cells in the epidermis, appear to belong to the same system and possibly represent a subpopulation of 'macrophages'. On the basis of their similarity to these other dendritic cells, we believe Langerhans cells may function in antigen presentation, lymphokine production, provision of a microenvironment for T lymphocytes, and prostaglandin secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-43
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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