Dendritic cells (DCs) are a unique class of immune cells that act as a bridge between innate and adaptive immunity. The discovery of DCs by Cohen and Steinman in 1973 laid the foundation for DC biology, and the advances in the field identified different versions of DCs with unique properties and functions. DCs originate from hematopoietic stem cells, and their differentiation is modulated by Flt3L. They are professional antigen-presenting cells that patrol the environmental interphase, sites of infection, or infiltrate pathological tissues looking for antigens that can be used to activate effector cells. DCs are critical for the initiation of the cellular and humoral immune response and protection from infectious diseases or tumors. DCs can take up antigens using specialized surface receptors such as endocytosis receptors, phagocytosis receptors, and C type lectin receptors. Moreover, DCs are equipped with an array of extracellular and intracellular pattern recognition receptors for sensing different danger signals. Upon sensing the danger signals, DCs get activated, upregulate costimulatory molecules, produce various cytokines and chemokines, take up antigen and process it and migrate to lymph nodes where they present antigens to both CD8 and CD4 T cells. DCs are classified into different subsets based on an integrated approach considering their surface phenotype, expression of unique and conserved molecules, ontogeny, and functions. They can be broadly classified as conventional DCs consisting of two subsets (DC1 and DC2), plasmacytoid DCs, inflammatory DCs, and Langerhans cells.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImmunobiology of Dendritic Cells Part A
EditorsClaire Lhuillier, Lorenzo Galluzzi
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages68
ISBN (Print)9780128183519
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1937-6448


  • BDCA1
  • BDCA2
  • BDCA3
  • CDc2
  • DC subsets
  • Dendritic cell
  • LCs
  • SIRPa
  • XCR1
  • cDC1
  • infDC
  • pDC


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