Dictionary > Langhans giant cell

Langhans giant cell

Definition
noun, plural: Langhans giant cells
A type of giant cell formed by the fusion of epithelioid macrophages, and characterized by nuclei that are arranged similar to a horseshoe and are located peripherally
Supplement
Langhans giant cells as the name implies are cells that are exceptionally large. They also have multiple nuclei. The nuclei of Langhans giant cell are located in the cell periphery. The nuclei are also arranged in a way that they resemble a horseshoe, which make them distinct from other giant cells such as Touton giant cells in which the nuclei are grouped forming a ring. Langhans giant cells derived their name after Theodor Langhans, a German pathologist.1
Langhans giant cells are formed similarly by the fusion of epitheliod cells (macrophages) just as the other types of giant cells. The fusion of these cells resulted in a large cell having multiple nuclei.
Langhans giant cells are often associated with tubercular lesions. They are also seen in certain types of granulomatous diseases. They are also related to syphilis, sarcoidosis and deep fungal infections.
Also called:

  • Pirogov-Langhans cell

See also:

  • giant cell
  • macrophage
  • Reference(s):

    1 Pritchard, J., Foley, P., & Wong, H. (September 2003). “Langerhans and Langhans: what’s misleading in a name?”. Lancet 362 (9387): 922.


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