Langerhans cell

Langerhans cell

::"Not to be confused with the beta cells making up the islets of Langerhans."

Langerhans' cells are dendritic cells abundant in epidermis, containing large granules called Birbeck granules. They are normally present in lymph nodes, and can be found in other organs in the condition Histiocytosis.Specifically, the Langerhans cells are located primarily in the stratum spinosum portion of the epidermis.

Named after German anatomist and physician Paul Langerhans (1847-1888) who described it in skin when he was a medical student.


On infection of an area of skin, the local Langerhans' cells will take up and process microbial antigens to become fully-functional antigen-presenting cells.

Generally, dendritic cells in tissue are active in the capture, uptake and processing of antigens. Once dendritic cells arrive in secondary lymphoid tissue however, they lose these properties while gaining the capacity to interact with naive T-cells.

Langerhans' cells are derived from the cellular differentiation of monocytes with the marker "Gr-1" (also known as "Ly-6c/G"). The differentiation requires stimulation by colony stimulating factor-1. [cite journal | author = Ginhoux F, Tacke F, Angeli V, Bogunovic M, Loubeau M, Dai X, Stanley E, Randolph G, Merad M | title = Langerhans cells arise from monocytes in vivo | journal = Nat Immunol | volume = 7 | issue = 3 | pages = 265–73 | year = 2006 | pmid = 16444257 | doi = 10.1038/ni1307] They are similar in morphology and function to macrophages. Semester 4 medical lectures at Uppsala University 2008 by Leif Jansson]

Clinical significance


In the rare disease Langerhans' cell histiocytosis (LCH), an excess of these cells is produced, which can cause damage to skin, bone and other organs.


Langerhans' cells capture HIV-1 virions by way of Fc receptor binding to antibody-coated virus. Langerhans' cells act as reservoirs for the HIV-1 virus, serving as a site of replication when T-cells become depleted (Robbins Pathology).

Langerhans' cells have been observed in foreskin, vaginal, and oral mucosa of humans; the lower concentrations in oral mucosa suggest that it is not a likely source of HIV infection relative to foreskin and vaginal mucosa. [cite journal | author = Hussain, LA, Lehner T | title = Comparative Investigation of Langerhans' cells and Potential Receptors for HIV in Oral, Genitourinary and Rectal Epithelia | journal = Immunology | volume = 85 | pages = 475–484 | year = 1995 |pmid=7558138]

On March 4 2007 the online Nature Medicine magazine published the letter "Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells." [cite journal |author=de Witte L, Nabatov A, Pion M, Fluitsma D, de Jong M, de Gruijl T, Piguet V, van Kooyk Y, Geijtenbeek T |title=Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells |journal=Nat Med |volume=13 |issue=3 |pages=367–71 |year=2007 |pmid=17334373 |doi=10.1038/nm1541] Teunis Geijtenbeek, one of the authors of the study, said that "Langerin is able to scavenge viruses from the surrounding environment, thereby preventing infection" and "since generally all tissues on the outside of our bodies have Langerhans cells, we think that the human body is equipped with an antiviral defense mechanism, destroying incoming viruses." [cite news |first=E.J. |last=Mundell |title=Scientists Discover 'Natural Barrier' to HIV |url= |work= |publisher=HealthDay News via |date=March 5, 2007 |accessdate=2008-07-13 ]

ee also

* histiocytosis
* Foreskin
* Paul Langerhans
* Langhans giant cell


External links

* [ at]
* [ Birbeck granules at]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Langerhans cell — Cell found in the skin that internalizes antigen and moves in the lymph to lymph nodes where it differentiates into a dendritic cell …   Dictionary of microbiology

  • Langerhans cell — Lang·er·hans cell läŋ ər .hän(t)s n a dendritic cell of the interstitial spaces of the mammalian epidermis that functions as an antigen presenting cell which binds antigen entering through the skin and transports it to the lymph nodes P.… …   Medical dictionary

  • Langerhans cell — noun Etymology: Paul Langerhans died 1888 German physician Date: 1890 a cell that is found in the epidermis and functions as an antigen presenting cell which binds antigen entering through the skin …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • langerhans cell — ˈläŋə(r)ˌhän(t)s noun Usage: usually capitalized L Etymology: after Paul Langerhans died 1888 German physician : a cell having slender cytoplasmic projections that is found in the epidermis and functions as an antigen presenting cell which binds… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis — Classification and external resources Micrograph showing a Langerhans cell histiocytosis with the characteristic reniform Langerhans cells accompanied by abundant eosinophils. H E stain …   Wikipedia

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis multifocal — Langerhans cell histiocytosis occurring as erosive accumulations of proliferating Langerhans cells, commonly within the medullary cavities of bones, but also affecting the skin, gingiva, lungs, and stomach. It most commonly affects children and… …   Medical dictionary

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis unifocal — Langerhans cell histiocytosis occurring as a single osteolytic lesion, usually in a long or flat bone; it may be asymptomatic or may produce bone pain, tenderness, and swelling and, sometimes, pathologic fracture …   Medical dictionary

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis — any of a group of disorders characterized by proliferation of Langerhans cells, affecting children more often than adults. Lesions may be unifocal or multifocal and may involve the bone marrow, endocrine system, or lungs (the last being more… …   Medical dictionary

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis — LCH. A group of rare disorders in which too many Langerhans cells (a type of white blood cell) grow in certain tissues and organs including the bones, skin, and lungs, and damage them. LCH may also affect the pituitary gland (which makes hormones …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis — overgrowth of cells of the reticuloendothelial system. This includes disorders previously called histiocytosis X, including eosinophilic granuloma, Hand Schüller Christian disease, and Letterer Siwe disease. P. Langerhans (1847 88), German… …   Medical dictionary

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