"A properly functioning adaptive immune system signifies the best features of life. It is diverse beyond compare, tolerant without fail, and capable of behaving appropriately with a myriad of infections and other challenges. Dendritic cells (DCs) are required to explain how this remarkable system is energized and directed." This is a quote by one of the greatest immunologists our community has ever known, and the father of dendritic cells, Ralph Steinman. Steinman's discovery of DCs in 1973 and his subsequent research opened a new field of study within immunology: DC biology and in particular the role of DCs in immune regulation in health and disease. Here, I review themes from our work and others on the complex network of dendritic cells in the skin and discuss the significance of skin DCs in understanding aspects of host defense against infections, the pathology of inflammatory skin diseases, and speculate on the future effective immune-based therapies.
- Human dendritic cells