The current immune function of hepatic dendritic cells.

Willy Hsu, Shang An Shu, M. Eric Gershwin, Zhe Xiong Lian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


While only a small percentage of the liver as dendritic cells, they play a major role in the regulation of liver immunity. Four major types of dendritic cell subsets include myeloid CD8alpha(-)B220(-), lymphoid CD8alpha(+)B220(-), plasmacytoid CD8alpha(-)B220(+), and natural killer dendritic cell with CD8alpha(-)B220(-)NK1.1(+) phenotype. Although these subsets have slightly different characteristics, they are all poor naïve T cell stimulators. In exchange for their reduced capacity for allostimulation, hepatic DCs are equipped with an enhanced ability to secrete cytokines in response to TLR stimulation. In addition, they have increased level of phagocytosis. Both of these traits suggest hepatic DC as part of the innate immune system. With such a high rate of exposure to the dietary and commensal antigens, it is important for the hepatic DCs to have an enhanced innate response while maintaining a tolerogenic state to avoid chronic inflammation. Only upon secondary infectivity does the hepatic DC activate memory T cells for rapid eradication of recurring pathogen. On the other hand, overly tolerogenic characteristics of hepatic DC may be responsible for the increase prevalence of autoimmunity or liver malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-328
Number of pages8
JournalCellular & molecular immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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