Plasmacytoid dendritic cell

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Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are innate immune cells that circulate in the blood and are found in peripheral lymphoid organs. They constitute < 0.4% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).[1] In humans these cells express the surface markers CD123, BDCA-2(CD303) and BDCA-4(CD304), but do not express high levels of CD11c or CD14, which distinguishes them from conventional dendritic cells or monocytes, respectively. Mouse pDC express CD11c, B220, BST-2/Tetherin (mPDCA) and Siglec-H and are negative for CD11b.

As components of the innate immune system, these cells express intracellular Toll-like receptors 7 and 9 which detect ssRNA and unmethylated CpG DNA sequences, respectively.[2] Upon stimulation and subsequent activation, these cells produce large amounts of type I interferon (mainly IFN-α (alpha) and IFN-β (beta)), which are critical pleiotropic anti-viral compounds mediating a wide range of effects.

The number of circulating pDCs are found to be decreased during chronic HIV infection as well as HCV infection.


  1. ^ Tversky JR, Le TV, Bieneman AP, Chichester KL, Hamilton RG, Schroeder JT (May 2008). "Human blood dendritic cells from allergic subjects have impaired capacity to produce interferon-alpha via Toll-like receptor 9". Clin. Exp. Allergy 38 (5): 781–8. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2222.2008.02954.x. PMC 2707903. PMID 18318750. 
  2. ^ Gill MA, Bajwa G, George TA, et al. (June 2010). "Counterregulation between the FcepsilonRI pathway and antiviral responses in human plasmacytoid dendritic cells". J. Immunol. 184 (11): 5999–6006. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.0901194. PMID 20410486.