Ultrastructure

On electron microscopic analysis, LCs appear as dendritically shaped cells with a clear cytoplasm and a lobulated nucleus. The cytoplasm of LCs contains the specific tennis racket-shaped organelles with the characteristic trilamellar handle known as LC granules or Birbeck granules (Birbeck et al. 1961). Desmosomes and other identifying cytoplasmic features such as melanosomes or Merkel cell granules are absent. Birbeck granules contain the LAG antigen CD207, which is a 40-kDa glycoprotein that can be stained with the monoclonal LAG antibody (Kashihara et al. 1986). The function of the Birbeck granules is still unknown, but they may play a role in the antigen-presenting function of LCs.

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