Human blood dendritic cells (DCs) include three main distinct subsets, namely the CD1c+ and CD141+ myeloid DCs (mDCs) and the CD303+ plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). More recently, a population of slan/M-DC8+ cells, also known as "slanDCs", has been described in blood and detected even in inflamed secondary lymphoid organs and non-lymphoid tissues. Nevertheless, hallmarks of slan/M-DC8+ cells in tissues are poorly defined. Herein, we report a detailed characterization of the phenotype and function of slan/M-DC8+ cells present in human tonsils. We found that tonsil slan/M-DC8+ cells represent a unique DC cell population, distinct from their circulating counterpart and also from all other tonsil DC and monocyte/macrophage subsets. Phenotypically, slan/M-DC8+ cells in tonsils display a CD11c+HLA-DR+CD14+CD11bdim/negCD16dim/negCX3CR1dim/neg marker repertoire, while functionally they exhibit an efficient antigen presentation capacity and a constitutive secretion of TNFα. Notably, such DC phenotype and functions are substantially reproduced by culturing blood slan/M-DC8+ cells in tonsil-derived conditioned medium (TDCM), further supporting the hypothesis of a full DC-like differentiation program occurring within the tonsil microenvironment. Taken together, our data suggest that blood slan/M-DC8+ cells are immediate precursors of a previously unrecognizedcompetent DC subset in tonsils, and pave the way for further characterization of slan/M-DC8+ cells in other tissues.
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