Immunophenotypic characterization of feline Langerhans cells

I. Saint André Marchal, C. Dezutter-Dambuyant, B. J. Willett, J. C. Woo, Peter F Moore, J. P. Magnol, D. Schmitt, T. Marchal

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27 Scopus citations


To carry out the characterization of feline Langerhans cells (LC), first described in 1994, we used a panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) known to react with human, canine and feline leukocyte membrane antigens (Ag). The immunolabeling was performed, at light microscope level, on frozen sections of feline skin and labial mucosa using an avidin-biotin-peroxidase technique, and at electron microscope level on epidermal cell suspensions using an immunogold technique. Out of the 52 MAb tested, six labeled basal or suprabasal DC cells in the frozen sections, either in epidermis or lip epithelium: MHM23 (anti-human CD18), CVS20 and vpg3 (respectively anti- canine and feline-major histocompatibility complex class II molecules), vpg5 (anti-feline leukocytes), vpg39 (anti-feline CD4) and Fe15F4 (anti-feline CD1a). These six MAb were used on suspensions, and labeled cells which showed no desmosomes or melanosomes, but contained 'zipper-like' structures similar to Birbeck granules (BG) in their cytoplasm, revealing they were LC. Consequently, feline LC are CD18-positive (CD18 +), major histocompatibility complex class II-positive (Class II +), CD1a-positive (CD1a +), vpg5-positive (vg5 +) and CD4-positive (CD4 +). This immunophenotypic and ultrastructural characterization demonstrates that feline LC share many characteristics with their human counterparts, a fact that will allow us to study the role of feline LC in certain feline diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infection, since it has been shown that human LC cells are HIV- permissive, and to establish an animal model for human AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Cat
  • Langerhans cell
  • Monoclonal antibodies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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