In the normal mouse spleen, two distinct populations of dendritic cells (DC) are present that differ in microanatomical location. The major population of marginal DC is found in the "marginal zone bridging channels" and extends into the red pulp. The interdigitating cells (IDC) are localized in the T cell areas in the white pulp. The aim of the present study was to characterize these two splenic DC populations with regard to their phenotype, in vivo phagocytic function, and turnover. Both marginal DC and IDC are CD11c+ and CD13+, but only IDC are NLDC-145+ and CD8alpha+. Notably, both populations, when freshly isolated, express the macrophage markers F4/80, BM8, and Mac-1. To study the phagocytic capacity of these cells, we employed the macrophage "suicide" technique by injecting liposomes loaded with clodronate i.v. Marginal DC, but not IDC, were eliminated by this treatment. Phagocytosis of DiI-labeled liposomes by DC confirmed this finding. The two DC populations differed significantly with regard to their turnover rates, as studied in a transgenic mouse model of conditional depletion of DC populations with high turnover. In these mice, marginal DC were completely eliminated, but the IDC population remained virtually intact. From these data we conclude that the marginal DC population has a high turnover, in contrast to the IDC population. Taken together, the present results indicate that marginal DC and IDC represent two essentially distinct populations of DC in the mouse spleen. They differ not only in location, but also in phenotype, phagocytic ability, and turnover.

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Journal of Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Leenen, P., Radosevic, K., Voerman, J., Salomon, B., van Rooijen, N., Klatzmann, D., & van Ewijk, W. (1998). Heterogeneity of mouse spleen dendritic cells: in vivo phagocytic activity, expression of macrophage markers, and subpopulation turnover. Journal of Immunology. Retrieved from