Distribution

Low percentages of PDCs circulate in the human peripheral blood (<0.3%) and also constitute a cell subset in organized lymphoid tissue. Under special conditions they may accumulate in the skin: PDCs apparently have the capacity to migrate into the inflammatory skin lesions of patients with LE, where they produce and secrete high amounts of type 1 IFN. PDCs are also present in skin lesions of patients with psoriasis and contact dermatitis, where they were demonstrated as frequently as in peripheral blood (Wollenberg et al. 2002). PDCs were reduced or absent in lesional skin of patients with atopic dermatitis and in normal skin (Wollenberg et al. 2002), whereas the PDC frequency is increased in peripheral blood of patients with atopic dermatitis.

In skin sections of LE, PDCs predominantly accumulate along the dermoepider-mal junction, around hair follicles, and perivascularly (Farkas et al. 2001). Whereas the number of PDCs is decreased in peripheral blood of patients with LE, their numbers were increased in lesional skin of patients with LE, indicating their capacity to migrate into LE lesions, where they produce and secrete IFN-a (Farkas et al. 2001, Wollenberg et al. 2002).

There is an apparent dichotomy of PDC and IDEC accumulation in skin, which depends on the diagnosis. The extremes are, on the one hand, atopic dermatitis, with many IDECs and few if any PDCs, and, on the other hand, LE lesions, with a pronounced infiltrate of PDCs but very few IDECs (Wollenberg et al. 2002).

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