Why is a dendritic cell a phagocyte
Dendritic cells belong to the defense cells of the immune system of mammals. The name has nothing to do with the cell extensions of nerve cells (dendrites), but is derived from the characteristic branched structure of the dendritic (from ancient Greek 'dendron' = tree) cells. In the 19th century the pathologist described Paul Langerhans for the first time the cell type, but mistakenly assumed that the dendritic cells belong to the nerve cells. This is the reason for the similarity of both cell types by name.
Dendritic cells develop from monocytes and can be found in almost all body tissues, especially in the gastrointestinal tract, the lungs and the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose.
The central task of the dendritic cells is the Antigen production and Antigen presentation as part of the innate immune response. The process is as follows:
1. A dendritic cell in the tissue phagocytizes a foreign pathogen. Phagocytosis can only take place once for each dendritic cell. At this point the cell is still in the immature stage.
2. The dendritic cell now leaves the tissue and 'migrates' (cell migration) to the nearest lymph node.
3. Antigens of the previously phagocytosed pathogen are transferred from the dendritic cell to the cell surface (antigen generation) and made visible to T lymphocytes (antigen presentation).
4. With the presentation of the proteins, the antigen-presenting cell goes into the mature stage.
5. Chemokines (chemotactic cytokines) released by the dendritic cells activate the T lymphocytes from the immediate vicinity.
6. The attracted T lymphocytes recognize and bind to the presented antigens.
7. The T cell receptor is now able to recognize the specific antigens that were previously presented by the dendritic cell.
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