Acquisition of immune function during the development of the Langerhans cell network in neonatal mice
Dewar, AL and Doherty, KV and Woods, GM and Lyons, AB and Muller, HK, Acquisition of immune function during the development of the Langerhans cell network in neonatal mice, Immunology, 103, (1) pp. 61-69. ISSN 0019-2805 (2001) [Refereed Article]
The immunological function of the Langerhans cell (LC) network in neonatal skin was examined by defining the development of cutaneous immunity relative to the structure, phenotype and function of the epidermal LC network in neonatal, juvenile and adult mice. Analysis of epidermal sheets showed the presence of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II+, multilectin receptor DEC-205- cells within the epidermis of 3-day-old mice; both cell density and DEC-205 expression increased until day 14. When visualized with antibodies directed at MHC II, the network was poorly formed in 3- and 7-day-old mice, as there was a lower cell density and poor MHC II expression on dendritic processes, compared to mice at day 14. Application of a fluorescent antigen to 3-day-old mice revealed that the LC were inefficient in transporting antigen to the draining lymph node. There was an improvement at day 7 and by day 14 comparable numbers of antigen carrying cells were detected in the lymph nodes of 6-week-old mice. The reduced antigen carriage in 3- and 7-day-old mice correlated with a poor contact sensitivity response. This was not simply due to failure to present antigen, but development of immunosuppression, as transfer of T cells from adult mice that were previously treated with antigen when they were 3 days old, to adult recipients resulted in antigen specific immunosuppression. Analysis of CD80 and CD86 expression showed that LC from day 3 skin expressed CD80, but not CD86 and application of antigen through this skin was inefficient in upregulating CD86. These findings indicate that when the neonatal LC network is poorly developed it is functionally immature and antigen applied through this 'functionally immature network' results in antigen specific immunosuppression.