, Volume 325, Issue 3, pp 455-460
Date: 03 May 2006

Development and maturation of thymic dendritic cells during human ontogeny

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Thymic dendritic cells (TDC) are dendritic cells situated mainly in the cortico-medullary zone and in the medullary region of the thymus. However, the phenotype of TDC during ontogeny is poorly documented. The aim of this study has been to investigate the development and maturation of TDC during human ontogeny. Immunohistochemical analyses and immunoelectron-microscopic investigation of 21 human thymus specimens have been performed to detect the subtypes of TDC by using various DC-related and DC-development-related markers. TDC express a Langerhans-cell-like phenotype during human ontogeny. Cells expressing thymic stromal lymphopoietin receptor have been observed in Hassal’s corpuscles of the thymus. Granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) is also expressed in thymic epithelial cells (TEC) localized in Hassal’s corpuscles. During human ontogeny, GM-CSF is produced by TEC of Hassal’s corpuscles and might play a key role in the differentiation of TDC having Langerhans-cell-like phenotypes.