- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Langerhans' cells

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Dendritic, dopa-negative clear cells (macrophages) which, with the white bodies (T lymphocytes), are involved in contact dermatitis and for the rejection of skin grafts/transplants.

Description

Dendritic, dopa-negative clear cells (macrophages) which, with the white bodies (T lymphocytes), are involved in contact dermatitis and for the rejection of skin grafts/transplants. The cells are mainly found in the stratum spinosum/stratum germinativum of the epithelium of the skin, as well as the epithelial tissue of other organs. They process antigen and their presence has also been demonstrated in the mouth and in the lymphatic nodes. They are found in large numbers in histiocytosis X.

Langerhans cell sometimes contains structures called Langerhans/Birbeck granules which are tubulo-vesicular structures with characteristic periodicity on electron microscopy. The function of the granules is unknown.

Bibliography

  • P. Langerhans:
    Über Tastkörperchen und rete Malpighi.
    Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie, Bonn, 1873, 9: 730.

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