In all dendritic cells, the similar morphology results in a very large contact surface to their surroundings compared to overall cell volume.
''In vivo'' - primate
The most common division of dendritic cells is "myeloid" vs. "plasmacytoid":
|Myeloid dendritic cell (mDC)||Most similar to monocytes. mDC are made up of at least two subsets:|
(1) the more common mDC-1, which is a major stimulator of T cells
(2) the extremely rare mDC-2, which may have a function in fighting wound infection
|IL-12||TLR 2, TLR 4|
|Plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC)||Look like plasma cells, but have certain characteristics similar to myeloid dendritic cells.||Can produce high amounts of interferon-alpha and thus became known as IPC (interferon-producing cells) before their dendritic cell nature was revealed.||TLR 7, TLR 9|
The markers BDCA-2, BDCA-3, and BDCA-4 can be used to discriminate among the types.
Lymphoid and myeloid DCs evolve from lymphoid or myeloid precursors respectively and thus are of hematopoietic origin. By contrast, follicular dendritic cells (FDC) are probably of mesenchymal rather than hematopoietic origin and do not express MHC class II, but are so named because they are located in lymphoid follicles and have long "dendritic" processes.
In some respects, dendritic cells cultured in vitro do not show the same behaviour or capability as dendritic cells isolated ''ex vivo''. Nonetheless, they are often used for research as they are still much more readily available than genuine DCs.
- Mo-DC or MDDC refers to cells matured from monocytes
- HP-DC refers to cells derived from hematopoietic progenitor cells.
While humans and non-human primates such as Rhesus macaques appear to have DCs divided into these groups, other species (such as the mouse) have different subdivisions of DCs.
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