Islets of Langerhans from normal mice contained dendritic cells (DCs) in the range of 8-10 per islet. DCs were found in several mouse strains, including those from lymphocyte-deficient mice. DCs were absent in islets from colony stimulating factor-1 deficient mice and this absence correlated with small size islets. Most DCs were found next to blood vessels and resided in islets for several days. Some DCs contained insulin-like granules, and most expressed peptide-MHC complexes derived from β cell proteins. Islet DCs were highly effective in presenting β cell antigens to CD4 T cells ex vivo. Presentation of β cell-derived peptide-MHC complexes by DCs neither depended on islet inflammation nor correlated with the extent of spontaneous β cell death. Periislet stroma DCs did not contain β cell peptide-MHC complexes; however, 50% of DCs in pancreatic node were positive. Hence, presentation of high levels of β cell antigens normally takes place by islet DCs, a finding that has to be placed in the perspective of autoimmune diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6121-6126
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 22 2008


  • Antigen presentation
  • Dendritic cell migration


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