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BioLegend’s Dendritic Cells Webpage

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Dendritic cells belong to the family of antigen presenting cells (APCs). APCs are key players of the innate immune system and they specialize in the uptake of molecules, pathogens and related material.

Once they phagocytose such material, they break it down into small pieces, and present it to stimulate T cells, which promote the adaptive immune response. Dendritic cells have very unique properties that make them the most potent APCs of the immune system.

DCs themselves are a complex population, but thus far, they can be classified as conventional (or classical) DCs (cDCs) or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). cDCs are also known as myeloid dendritic cells. Both cDCs and pDCs also contain several specialized subpopulations, but the main difference between cDCs and pDCs is their function.

Although there is a dynamic relationship between cDCs and pDCs, cDCs excel at antigen presentation and T cell stimulation, whereas pDCs are the most potent Type I interferon producing cells known up to date.