- Not to be confused with the cells of the islets of Langerhans, found in the pancreas, or Langhans giant cell.
Langerhans cells are dendritic cells (antigen-presenting immune cells) of the skin and mucosa, and contain large granules called Birbeck granules. They are present in all layers of the epidermis, but are most prominent in the stratum spinosum. They also occur in the papillary dermis, particularly around blood vessels, as well as in the mucosa of the mouth, foreskin, and vagina. They can be found in other tissues, such as lymph nodes, particularly in association with the condition Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).
The Langerhans cell is named after Paul Langerhans, a German physician and anatomist, who discovered the cells at the age of 21 while he was a medical student. Because of their dendritic nature, he mistakenly identified the cells as part of the nervous system.
Generally, dendritic cells in tissue are active in the capture, uptake and processing of antigens. Once dendritic cells arrive in secondary lymphoid tissue, however, they lose these properties while gaining the capacity to interact with naive T-cells.
Langerhans cells derive from the cellular differentiation of monocytes with the marker "Gr-1" (also known as "Ly-6G/Ly-6C"). This differentiation requires stimulation by colony stimulating factor (CSF)-1. They are similar in morphology and function to macrophages.
Clinical significance 
Langerhans cells have been observed in foreskin, vaginal, and oral mucosa of humans; the lower concentrations in oral mucosa suggest that it is not a likely source of HIV infection relative to foreskin and vaginal mucosa.
On March 4, 2007 the online Nature Medicine magazine published the letter "Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells." One of the authors of the study, Teunis Geijtenbeek, said that "Langerin is able to scavenge viruses from the surrounding environment, thereby preventing infection" and "since generally all tissues on the outside of our bodies have Langerhans cells, we think that the human body is equipped with an antiviral defense mechanism, destroying incoming viruses."
See also 
- Masci, Anna; Arighi, Cecilia N; Diehl, Alexander D; Lieberman, Anne E; Mungall, Chris; Scheuermann, Richard H; Smith, Barry; Cowell, Lindsay G (2009). "An improved ontological representation of dendritic cells as a paradigm for all cell types". BMC Bioinformatics 10: 70. doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-70. PMC 2662812. PMID 19243617.
- Young, Barbara; Heath, John W. (2000). Wheater's Functional Histology (4th ed.). Churchill Livingstone. p. 162. ISBN 0-443-05612-9.
- Hussain, LA; Lehner, T (1995). "Comparative investigation of Langerhans' cells and potential receptors for HIV in oral, genitourinary and rectal epithelia". Immunology 85 (3): 475–84. PMC 1383923. PMID 7558138.
- Langerhans, Paul (1868). "Ueber die Nerven der menschlichen Haut" [On the nerves of the human skin]. Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin (in German) 44 (2–3): 325–37. doi:10.1007/BF01959006.
- Online 'Mendelian Inheritance in Man' (OMIM) Langerhans cell histiocytosis -604856
- Ginhoux, Florent; Tacke, Frank; Angeli, Veronique; Bogunovic, Milena; Loubeau, Martine; Dai, Xu-Ming; Stanley, E Richard; Randolph, Gwendalyn J et al. (2006). "Langerhans cells arise from monocytes in vivo". Nature Immunology 7 (3): 265–73. doi:10.1038/ni1307. PMID 16444257.
- Valladeau, Jenny; Dezutter-Dambuyant, Colette; Saeland, Sem (2003). "Langerin/CD207 Sheds Light on Formation of Birbeck Granules and Their Possible Function in Langerhans Cells". Immunologic Research 28 (2): 93–107. doi:10.1385/IR:28:2:93. PMID 14610287.
- Poulin, Lionel Franz; Henri, Sandrine; de Bovis, Béatrice; Devilard, Elisabeth; Kissenpfennig, Adrien; Malissen, Bernard (2007). "The dermis contains langerin+ dendritic cells that develop and function independently of epidermal Langerhans cells". Journal of Experimental Medicine 204 (13): 3119–31. doi:10.1084/jem.20071724. PMC 2150992. PMID 18086861.
- Kawamura, Tatsuyoshi; Kurtz, Stephen E.; Blauvelt, Andrew; Shimada, Shinji (2005). "The role of Langerhans cells in the sexual transmission of HIV". Journal of Dermatological Science 40 (3): 147–55. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2005.08.009. PMID 16226431.
- Dezutter-Dambuyant, C; Charbonnier, AS; Schmitt, D (December 1995). "Cellules dendritiques épithéliales et infection par HIV-1 in vivo et in vitro" [Epithelial dendritic cells and HIV-1 infection in vivo and in vitro]. Pathologie Biologie (in French) 43 (10): 882–8. PMID 8786894.
- De Witte, Lot; Nabatov, Alexey; Pion, Marjorie; Fluitsma, Donna; De Jong, Marein A W P; De Gruijl, Tanja; Piguet, Vincent; Van Kooyk, Yvette et al. (2007). "Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells". Nature Medicine 13 (3): 367–71. doi:10.1038/nm1541. PMID 17334373.
- Mundell, E. J. (March 5, 2007). "Scientists Discover 'Natural Barrier' to HIV". MSN. HealthDay. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis at eMedicine
- http://www.trinity.edu/rblyston/MicroA/Lectures/L34-html/img018.jpg[dead link] Illustration at trinity.edu
- Brun, Scott C.; Rubin, Peter A. D. (1997). "25 year old kickboxer with progressive proptosis". Digital Journal of Ophthalmology 3 (26).
- Langerhans Cells at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)