Satellite glial cells (SGC) in sensory ganglia tightly envelop the neuronal cell body to form discrete anatomical units. This type of glial cell is considered neuroectoderm-derived and provides physical support to neuron somata. There are scattered hints in the literature suggesting that SGC have an immune-related function within sensory ganglia. In this study, we addressed the hypothesis that SGC are tissue-resident APC. The immune phenotype and function of a large series (n = 40) of human trigeminal ganglia (TG) were assessed by detailed flow cytometry, in situ analyses, and functional in vitro assays. Human TG-resident SGC (TG-SGC) uniformly expressed the common leukocyte marker CD45, albeit at lower levels compared with infiltrating T cells, and the macrophage markers CD14, CD68, and CD11b. In addition, TG-SGC expressed the myeloid dendritic cell (DC) marker CD11c, the T cell costimulatory molecules CD40, CD54, CD80, and CD86 and MHC class II. However, the mature DC marker CD83 was absent on TG-SGC. Functionally, TG-SGC phagocytosed fluorescent bacteria, but were unable to induce an allogeneic MLR. Finally, TG-infiltrating T cells expressed the T cell inhibitory molecules CD94/NKG2A and PD-1, and the interacting TG-SGC expressed the cognate ligands HLA-E and PD-L1, respectively. In conclusion, the data demonstrate that human TG-SGC have a unique leukocyte phenotype, with features of both macrophages and immature myeloid DC, indicating that they have a role as TG-resident APC with potential T cell modulatory properties. Copyright

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van Velzen, M, Laman, J.D, Kleinjan, A, Poot, A, Osterhaus, A.D.M.E, & Verjans, G.M.G.M. (2009). Neuron-interacting satellite glial cells in human trigeminal ganglia have an APC phenotype. Journal of Immunology, 183(4), 2456–2461. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.0900890