Characteristically, DDCs express the blood clotting enzyme factor XIII (Cerio et al. 1990) and several surface markers, such as HLA-DR, but lack the typical LC markers CD1a, Birbeck granules, and ATPase, suggesting a closer relation of DDCs to macrophages than to other DCs (Headington 1986, Teunissen et al. 1997).

Another more detailed study showed that normal skin contains at least three separate populations of DDCs by immunophenotypic analysis using a broad panel of 45 different antibodies based on the expression of blood clotting enzyme factor XIIIa that have distinctive phenotypic markers and immunologic capabilities (Nestle et al. 1993). By triple color staining, the relative distribution of factor XIIIa+ DDCs is as follows: subset 1 (65%-70% of total DDCs) expresses neither CD1a nor CD14; subset 2 (15%-20% of total DDCs) expresses CD1a but not CD14, and subset 3 (10%-15% of total DDCs) expresses CD14 but not CD1a.

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