Ultrastructure

The ultrastructure of IDECs shows a clear cytoplasm and a lobulated nucleus but no Birbeck granules, melanosomes, Merkel cell granules, or desmosomes (Wollenberg et al. 1996). Consequently, the immunohistochemical or flow cytometric analysis of epidermal DCs for the Birbeck granule-specific Langerin (LAG antigen, CD207) represents an alternative technique to the ultrastructural analysis for delineation of IDECs and LCs (Wollenberg et al. 1996). Close to the cell membrane, IDECs show areas with numerous coated pits and coated and uncoated vesicles. These seem to be fusing with endosomes, thus confirming the endocytotic activity (Wollenberg et al. 2002).

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