Dictionary > Langerhans cell

Langerhans cell

noun, plural: Langerhans cells
An antigen-presenting (dendritic) cell characterized by the presence of Birbeck granules, and is present in the skin and the mucosa
Langerhans cells are dendritic cells located in the skin and the mucosa. They are part of the mononuclear phagocyte system of the body. The mononuclear phagocyte system is a system comprised of phagocytic cells located in reticular connective tissue. Reticular connective tissue is a type of connective tissue characterized by the predominance of reticular fibers. Apart from Langerhans cells, adipose tissue macrophages, Kupffer cells, Hofbauer cells, etc. are part of the monocyte phagocyte system.1
Langerhans cells are characterized by the presence of rod- or tennis-shaped cytoplasmic organelles called Birbeck granules. They are present in the skin and the mucosa, e.g. mouth, foreskin, and vagina. They account for about 2% of the cells in the epidermis. In these sites, the Langerhans cells take in and process microbial antigens. When they travel to draining lymph nodes they become antigen-presenting cells, i.e. presenting antigens to T lymphocytes.2
Langerhans cells are named after the German physician and anatomist, Paul Langerhans (who is also the one who first described the pancreatic cells producing insulin called islets of Langerhans and the protein Langerin encoded by the CD207 gene).
See also:

  • phagocyte
  • reticular connective tissue
  • histiocytosis

Related term(s):

  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis
  • Reference(s):

    1 Mononuclear phagocyte system. Retrieved from ://www.biologyonline.com/dictionary/Mononuclear-phagocyte-system.

    2 Patterson, J. & Hosler, G. (2016). Weedon’s skin pathology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

    You will also like...

    Adaptation Tutorial
    Adaptation Tutorial

    Adaptation, in biology and ecology, refers to the process or trait through which organisms or the populations in a habit..

    Peppered moth ("Biston betularia") melanic and light form
    Examples of Natural Selection

    Darwin's Finches are an example of natural selection in action. They are an excellent example of the way species' gene p..


    The circulatory system is key to the transport of vital biomolecules and nutrients throughout the body. Learn about the ..

    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems
    Pollution in Freshwater Ecosystems

    There are many environmental factors that arise due to the usage of water in one way or another and for every action tha..

    Photosynthesis and respiration
    Plant Metabolism

    Plants are responsible for incredible feats of molecular transformation. Plant processes, such as photosynthesis, photop..


    Muscle cells are specialized to generate force and movement. Learn about the different types of muscle tissues in this t..