Investigative Report

CD11c+ Dendritic Cells Rather than Langerhans Cells are Reduced in Normal Skin of Immunosuppressed Renal Transplant Recipients

Lene F. Sandvik, Kathrine Skarstein, Lisbet Sviland, Einar Svarstad, Arvid E. Nilsen, Torbjørn Leivestad, Roland Jonsson, Silke Appel
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-1679


The increased risk of squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) in renal transplant recipients (RTR) is related to impaired immunosurveillance as a consequence of immunosuppressive therapy. Since dendritic cells (DC) play an important role in immunosurveillance, we investigated the quantity of DC subsets and macrophages in normal skin of RTR and immunocompetent controls by immunohistochemistry. In this comparative study Langerhans’ cells (LC) were present in similar numbers in RTR and controls. The number of CD11c+ DC was significantly reduced in RTR, particularly in patients on triple treatment therapy, compared with controls. Macrophages were significantly increased. Plasmacytoid DC were not detected in normal skin. The reduced quantity of CD11c+ DC and increased number of macrophages in normal skin of immunosuppressed RTR may contribute to the increased incidence of SCC in RTR. This finding underlines the role of DC subsets in immunosurveillance, and may have implications for our understanding of the effect of immunosuppression on DC subsets.

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