The ability of dendritic cells (DCs) to initiate and orchestrate immune responses is a consequence of their localization within tissues and their specialized capacity for mobilization. The migration of a given DC subset is typified by a restricted capacity for recirculation, contrasting markedly with T cells. Routes of DC migration into lymph nodes differ notably for distinct DC subsets. Here, we compare the distinct migratory patterns of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), CD8α+ DCs, Langerhans cells, and conventional myeloid DCs and discuss how the highly regulated patterns of DC migration in vivo may affect their roles in immunity. Finally, to gain a more molecular appreciation of the specialized migratory properties of DCs, we review the signaling cascades that govern the process of DC migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-316
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
StatePublished - 2008


  • Chemotaxis
  • Lymph node
  • Lymphatic vessel
  • Postcapillary venule


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