Depletion of Langerhans Cells Following Carcinogen Treatment is Partly Due to Antigenicity

  • Gregory M. Woods
  • Imogen H. Liew
  • H. Konrad Muller
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 329)


Langerhans cells (LC) are skin dendritic cells that trap foreign antigens1 and migrate to the local lymph nodes where they present antigen to initiate an immune response. Maintenance of LC density is an essential component in the generation of an immune response as immunization through skin deficient in LC (either naturally depleted such as mouse tail skin or physically depleted by chemicals, UV light or “tape stripping”) results in immunological unresponsiveness2. We have documented LC depletion following carcinogen/tumour promoter treatment and reported that sensitization with 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) through such depleted sites induced immunological tolerance by activating antigen specific T suppressor cells3. The immunosuppressive ability of carcinogens/tumour promoters suggests that LC depletion is a phenomenon unique to these compounds but depletion of LC following antigen (2,4,6 trinitrochlorobenzene; TNCB) application has also been demonstrated4. Experiments by our group have clearly shown a rapid and substantial migration of LC from the epidermis following either antigen (TNCB) or carcinogen (7,12 dimethylbenz(a)anthracene; DMBA) treatment. These observations raise the possibility that depletion of LC following carcinogen/tumour promoter application is due to a normal immunological response. LC recognise the carcinogens as antigens and respond accordingly by migrating to the draining lymph node.


Drain Lymph Node None None Contact Sensitivity Weekly Application Epidermal Sheet 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory M. Woods
    • 1
  • Imogen H. Liew
    • 1
  • H. Konrad Muller
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of PathologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartTasmaniaAustralia

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