2003 Exp Dermatol 2003 Aug ;12 (4):346-55
Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France.

In vitro reconstructed mucosa-integrating Langerhans' cells

All three-dimensional in vitro mucosal models constructed, thus far, have only been reconstituted by epithelial cells. We have developed a reconstructed oral and vaginal epithelium that integrates Langerhans' cells (LC), the dendritic cells (DC) of malpighian epithelia. The epithelium was composed of gingival or vaginal keratinocytes seeded on a de-epidermized dermis (DED) and grown in submerged culture for 2 weeks. LC precursors, obtained after differentiation of cord blood-derived CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (CD34+HPC) by granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and Flt3-ligand (Flt3-L), were introduced after 6-8 days of culture into the reconstituted epithelium. The in vitro reconstituted mucosal epithelium formed a multilayered, well-differentiated epithelial structure, confirmed by the immunohistochemical expression of cytokeratins 4, 6, 10, 13, 14, 16 and involucrin. LC were identified in the basal and suprabasal epithelial layers by CD1a antigen, S100 protein and Langerin/CD207 expression, and by transmission electron microscopy. Type IV collagen was expressed at the chorio-epithelial junction, and most ultrastructural features of this junction were visualized by electron microscopy. This in vitro reconstructed gingiva or vagina integrating LC represents interesting models very similar to native tissues. Because LC play an important role in the mucosal immune system, our models could be useful for conducting studies on interactions with pathogenic agents (viruses, bacteria etc.), as well as in pharmacological, toxicological and clinical research.