Dendritic cells (DCs) play critical roles in immune responses and can be distinguished in two major subsets, myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs. Although the presence of DC in all peripheral organs, including the kidney, has been well documented, no accurate estimates of DC subsets in human kidneys have been reported. This study shows a detailed analysis of DC subsets in cryosections of human renal tissue. The cortex of normal kidneys contains at least two different HLA-DR+myeloid DC subtypes characterized by BDCA-1+DC-SIGN+and BDCA-1+DC-SIGN-. The staining for DC-SIGN completely overlapped with CD68 in the renal interstitium. Unexpectedly, BDCA-2+DC-SIGN-plasmacytoid DCs are also abundantly present. Both subsets are located in the tubulo-interstitium often with a high frequency around, but rarely observed within glomeruli. Quantification of BDCA-1+, DC-SIGN+, and BDCA-2+cells in normal human renal tissue (pretransplant biopsy living donors; n=21) revealed that BDCA-1 is about four times as frequently present as BDCA-2. A preliminary cross-sectional analysis of DC in diseased kidneys, including rejection and immunoglobulin A nephropathy, revealed that the number of DC as well as their anatomical distribution might change under pathophysiological conditions. In conclusion, we show that human kidneys contain a dense network of myeloid and plasmacytoid DCs and provide the tools for phenotyping and enumeration of these cells to better understand interindividual differences in immune responses.

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Kidney International
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

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