Dendritic cells at the oral mucosal interface

C. W. Cutler, R. Jotwani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


The mucosal lining of the respiratory and digestive systems contains the largest and most complex immune system in the body, but surprisingly little is known of the immune system that serves the oral mucosa. This review focuses on dendritic cells, particularly powerful arbiters of immunity, in response to antigens of microbial or tumor origin, but also of tolerance to self-antigens and commensal microbes. Although first discovered in 1868, the epidermal dendritic Langerhans cells remained enigmatic for over a century, until they were identified as the most peripheral outpost of the immune system. Investigators' ability to isolate, enrich, and culture dendritic cells has led to an explosion in the field. Presented herein is a review of dendritic cell history, ontogeny, function, and phenotype, and the role of different dendritic cell subsets in the oral mucosa and its diseases. Particular emphasis is placed on the mechanisms of recognition and capture of microbes by dendritic cells. Also emphasized is how dendritic cells may regulate immunity/tolerance in response to oral microbes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-689
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Dendritic cells
  • Oral mucosa
  • Periodontitis
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • T-cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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