Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Human dendritic cell subsets: an update

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matthew CollinORCiD, Dr Venetia BigleyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Dendritic cells (DC) are a class of bone marrow derived cells arising from lympho-myeloid haematopoiesis that form an essential interface between the innate sensing of pathogens and the activation of adaptive immunity. This task requires a wide range of mechanisms and responses, which are divided between three major DC subsets: plasmacytoid DC (pDC), myeloid/conventional DC1 (cDC1) and myeloid/conventional DC2 (cDC2). Each DC subset develops under the control of a specific repertoire of transcription factors involving differential levels of IRF8 and IRF4 in collaboration with PU.1, ID2, E2-2, ZEB2, KLF4, IKAROS and BATF3. DC haematopoiesis is conserved between mammalian species and distinct from monocyte development. Although monocytes can differentiate into DC, especially during inflammation, most quiescent tissues contain significant resident populations of DC lineage cells. An extended range of surface markers facilitates the identification of specific DC subsets although it remains difficult to dissociate cDC2 from monocyte-derived DC in some settings. Recent studies based on an increasing level of resolution of phenotype and gene expression have identified pre-DC in human blood and heterogeneity among cDC2. These advances facilitate the integration of mouse and human immunology, support efforts to unravel human DC function in vivo and continue to present new translational opportunities to medicine.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Collin M, Bigley V

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Immunology

Year: 2018

Volume: 154

Issue: 1

Pages: 3-20

Print publication date: 01/05/2018

Online publication date: 03/01/2018

Acceptance date: 03/01/2018

ISSN (print): 0019-2805

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2567


DOI: 10.1111/imm.12888

PubMed id: 29313948