Visualizing dendritic cell migration within the skin.
Roediger B., Ng LG., Smith AL., Fazekas de St Groth B., Weninger W.
Dendritic cells (DCs) within the skin are a heterogeneous population of cells, including Langerhans cells of the epidermis and at least three subsets of dermal DCs. Collectively, these DCs play important roles in the initiation of adaptive immune responses following antigen challenge of the skin as well as being mediators of tolerance to self-antigen. A key functional aspect of cutaneous DCs is their migration both within the skin and into lymphatic vessels, resulting in their emigration to draining lymph nodes. Here, we discuss our current understanding of the requirements for successful DC migration in and from the skin, and introduce some of the microscopic techniques developed in our laboratory to facilitate a better understanding of this process. In particular, we detail our current use of multi-photon excitation (MPE) microscopy of murine skin to dissect the migratory behavior of DCs in vivo.