Review ARTICLE

Front. Immunol., 01 April 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2014.00131

Human dendritic cell functional specialization in steady-state and inflammation

  • Laboratory for Translational Immunology, Department of Pediatric Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Dendritic cells (DC) represent a heterogeneous population of antigen-presenting cells that are crucial in initiating and shaping immune responses. Although all DC are capable of antigen-uptake, processing, and presentation to T cells, DC subtypes differ in their origin, location, migration patterns, and specialized immunological roles. While in recent years, there have been rapid advances in understanding DC subset ontogeny, development, and function in mice, relatively little is known about the heterogeneity and functional specialization of human DC subsets, especially in tissues. In steady-state, DC progenitors deriving from the bone marrow give rise to lymphoid organ-resident DC and to migratory tissue DC that act as tissue sentinels. During inflammation additional DC and monocytes are recruited to the tissues where they are further activated and promote T helper cell subset polarization depending on the environment. In the current review, we will give an overview of the latest developments in human DC research both in steady-state and under inflammatory conditions. In this context, we review recent findings on DC subsets, DC-mediated cross-presentation, monocyte-DC relationships, inflammatory DC development, and DC-instructed T-cell polarization. Finally, we discuss the potential role of human DC in chronic inflammatory diseases.

Keywords: dendritic cells, subsets, monocytes, humans, inflammation, inflammatory dendritic cells, functional specialization, skin

Citation: Boltjes A and van Wijk F (2014) Human dendritic cell functional specialization in steady-state and inflammation. Front. Immunol. 5:131. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00131

Received: 30 January 2014; Accepted: 14 March 2014;
Published online: 01 April 2014.

Edited by:

Marianne Boes, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Masaaki Murakami, Osaka University, Japan
Susan Kovats, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, USA

Copyright: © 2014 Boltjes and van Wijk. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Femke van Wijk, Laboratory for Translational Immunology, Department of Pediatric Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Lundlaan 6, Utrecht 3508 GA, Netherlands e-mail: f.vanwijk@umcutrecht.nl