dendritic cells

Dendritic Cells

The helper of our immune system

Dendritic cells help the T-helper cells to transfer the necessary information for the killer cells


dendritic Cells

dendritische Zellen

(As a rule,) dendritic cells exist as antigen-presenting particles in the human organism. As a special form of white blood cells they possess special molecules on their surface that are used for T-cell activation. The task of these cells is to generate and present antigens. If there is a foreign body in the immune system, the intracellular structures identify it. The foreign pathogens, for example, are bacteria or micro-organisms.

Dendritic cells are located within the immune system. This type of particle is divided into different types. These are formed from monocytes. Likewise the development from B- and T-precursor cells is possible. Accordingly, these particles are linked by a distant cell relationship. Their name "dendritic "cells" they owe to their function. Dendritic cells are the only cell types that trigger an immediate immune response. This is why they activate naïve T- cells.

According to the latest research, these cells do not work exclusively with T cells. They also interact with the other two lymphocyte types. These are in the form of natural killer cells and B-cells. According to this, dendritic cells are professional antigen-presenting cells within the immune system.

  • monocytes
  • macrophages
  • and B lymphocytes

The appearance and maturation of these cells

An immature dendritic cell has a star-shaped exterior. The appendages consist of cytoplasm and are called dendrites. The mature cell with its appendages is subject to constant movement. This allows them to intercept antibodies from the plasma. With the increasing age of the cell, the dendrites give way to veil-like membrane folds. They used to be called veil cells.

The classification of this cell type

The dendritic cells differ from each other due to their appearance and the features on their surface. Experts call these characteristics clusters of differentiation. The two forms of these cells consist of myeloid and plasma cytoid dendritic cells. The myeloids are similar to the monocytes. The plasma cytoids look like plasma cells.

These cells are further subdivided into cell types. These include the follicular dendritic reticulum cells, the Langhans cells and the inter-digitating dendritic reticulum cells. The latter mainly exist in the lymphatic tissue. In contrast, the Langhans cells are located in the epidermis.(skin)

The exact function of these cells

The dendritic cells take up their function in the immune system. Here they take care of the constant monitoring of the tissue. Extracellular particles devour the dendritic cell by phagocytosis or endocytosis. They then identify the foreign bodies and report them to the immune system.

As peptides, the components of the antigens are transferred to the surface of the cell. It is irrelevant whether the foreign bodies appear as proteins or microorganisms.

When the dendritic cell comes into contact with an antigen, it leaves the tissue. It migrates into a new lymph node. Here it joins a T cell and induces a specific immune response.

Furthermore, the dendritic cell avoids autoimmune reactions. It ensures immunological tolerance, which refers to the self-antigens. Its task is to recognise the body's own cell parts. If there is no infection in the organism, the dendritic cell stimulates the T-cells. This leads to apoptosis, anergy (?) or the development of regulatory T cells. Self-reactive T cells remove these cell types from the peripheral lymphocytes.

Dendritic cell and leukocytes

Dendritic cells belong to the leukocytes. The white blood cells deal with the fight against intolerable substances. In addition to viruses and toxins, tumour cells and protozoa are possible pathogens. The leukocytes are divided into different genera. The dendritic cell belongs to the cell type capable of phagocytosis. As a scavenger cell, it absorbs the foreign material. The dendritic cell is a certain type of white blood cell. This type of cell is subdivided into different forms depending on the appearance and characteristics of the cell surface. The absorption and destruction of foreign bodies in the body is one of the tasks of these cells.

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