The representation of Langerhans cells in the Cell Ontology. A portion of the Cell Ontology is shown with ovals corresponding to cell types defined in the ontology and arrows corresponding to relations between those cell types. Langerhans cell is represented by a yellow oval; blue arrows correspond to is_a relations, and orange arrows correspond to develops_from relations. Only a subset of Langerhans cell parent types are included in the figure.
Generally, dendritic cells in tissue are active in the capture, uptake and processing of antigens. Once dendritic cells arrive in secondary lymphoid tissue, however, they lose these properties while gaining the capacity to interact with naive T-cells.
Langerhans cells may be initial cellular targets in the sexual transmission of HIV, and may be a target, reservoir, and vector of dissemination.
Langerhans cells have been observed in foreskin, vaginal, and oral mucosa of humans; the lower concentrations in oral mucosa suggest that it is not a likely source of HIV infection relative to foreskin and vaginal mucosa.
On March 4, 2007 the online Nature Medicine magazine published the research letter "Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells." One of the authors of the study, Teunis Geijtenbeek, said that "Langerin is able to scavenge viruses from the surrounding environment, thereby preventing infection" and "since generally all tissues on the outside of our bodies have Langerhans cells, we think that the human body is equipped with an antiviral defense mechanism, destroying incoming viruses."
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^Valladeau, Jenny; Dezutter-Dambuyant, Colette; Saeland, Sem (2003). "Langerin/CD207 Sheds Light on Formation of Birbeck Granules and Their Possible Function in Langerhans Cells". Immunologic Research28 (2): 93–107. doi:10.1385/IR:28:2:93. PMID14610287.
^Kawamura, Tatsuyoshi; Kurtz, Stephen E.; Blauvelt, Andrew; Shimada, Shinji (2005). "The role of Langerhans cells in the sexual transmission of HIV". Journal of Dermatological Science40 (3): 147–55. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2005.08.009. PMID16226431.
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^De Witte, Lot; Nabatov, Alexey; Pion, Marjorie; Fluitsma, Donna; De Jong, Marein A W P; De Gruijl, Tanja; Piguet, Vincent; Van Kooyk, Yvette et al. (2007). "Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells". Nature Medicine13 (3): 367–71. doi:10.1038/nm1541. PMID17334373.|displayauthors= suggested (help)
^Langerhans, Paul (1868). "Ueber die Nerven der menschlichen Haut" [On the nerves of the human skin]. Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin (in German) 44 (2–3): 325–37. doi:10.1007/BF01959006.