Human lymphoid organ dendritic cell identity is predominantly dictated by ontogeny, not tissue microenvironment

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Science Immunology  16 Dec 2016:
Vol. 1, Issue 6, eaai7677
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aai7677

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Dendritic cell branches

Dendritic cell (DC) subsets have been well studied in mice; however, the relative contribution of ontogeny and tissue microenvironment to DC function in humans is less clear. Now, Heidkamp et al. perform phenotypic and transcriptional profiling of three DC subtypes in different human tissues from a large number of individuals. They find that DC subpopulations in more lympho-hemaotopoietic organs (spleen, thymus, and blood) are more strongly influenced by ontogeny, whereas those from lung and skin may be influenced by the issue microenvironment. The data collected here provide an in depth look at the transcriptional profile of dendritic cell subsets in humans and inform our understanding of human DC biology.