Dendritic Cells

R2D2 representing a dentritic cell R2D2 represents a dendritic cell. Often involved in presenting information to help other troops in battle.

Dendritic Cells (DCs) originate in the bone marrow but are most commonly found in body tissues that interact with an external environment, such as the gut lining, skin and lungs. They are professional antigen presenting cells and once they ingest and degrade a pathogen they present the broken-down fragments of the pathogen on their surface. DCs use a protein structure called Major Histocompatibility Complex Class II (MHC CLass II) to do this. Once DCs have an antigen to present they migrate to the spleen and lymph nodes, where they are able to "educate" other cells of the adaptive system about the specific threat being faced.

DCs are considered a link between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Some microbes have evolved to attack dendritic cells and are able to replicate inside them. In doing so they are able to hide from the rest of the immune system and therefore spread more easily through the body.



Soluble Mediators