Antigenic thymus-epidermis relationships: Reactivity of a panel of anti-thymic cell monoclonal antibodies on human keratinocytes and langerhans cells

Daniel Schmitt, Giovanna Zambruno, Marie Jeanne Staquet, Colette Dezutter-Dambuyant, Christiane Ohrt, Jean Brochie, Jean Thivolet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We have investigated on human skin the reactivity of a panel of 42 anti-thymus monoclonal antibodies (MCA) supplied by the Third International Workshop and Conference on Human Leucocyte Differentiation Antigens, Oxford, 1986. MCA of the first cluster of differentiation (CD1) define a group of surface molecules expressed by cortical thymocytes. Some of them (OKT6, M241 and Nal/34) have been shown to react in normal human skin with the epidermal Langerhans cells (LC). Twenty-two CD1 MCA were investigated in the present study. On normal human skin, 13 MCA reacted with LC in situ. This result suggests and confirms the heterogeneity of CD1 MCA. Recently, some of them were shown to recognize biochemically different molecules and/or epitopes of thymocytes. In addition, 20 anti-thymic epithelium MCA were tested on human skin. The MCA which only reacted with the thymic epithelial cell network (except Hassall’s corpuscles) decorated only the epidermal basal cell layer. The MCA which reacted with all the thymic epithelial cells (including Hassall’s corpuscles) decorated all the epidermal cell layers. These results confirm the heterogeneity of the thymic epithelial microenvironment and underline the antigenic similarities between the thymic epithelial structures and the different epidermal cell layers. The existence of bone-marrow-derived CDl-positive cells (thymocytes or LC) in an epithelial cell network (the thymus and the epidermis) focus the speculation around the immunological role of the epidermal basal cell layer in the T cell education and the exact lineage of the epidermal LC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1987



  • CD1 monoclonal antibodies
  • Epidermis
  • Keratinocytes
  • Langerhans cells
  • Thymus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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