Medicine & USMLE

Dendritic Cells

  1. Innate Immunity
  2. Adaptive Immunity
  3. Macrophages
  4. Neutrophils
  5. Dendritic Cells
  6. Mast Cells
  7. Eosinophils
  8. Basophils
  9. Natural Killer Cells
  10. Antigens
  11. MHC I and II
  12. Antibodies
  13. B Lymphocytes Overview
  14. B Cell Stages
  15. B-Cell Activation
  16. Plasma B-Cells
  17. Memory B-Cells
  18. T-Lymphocytes Overview
  19. T-Cell Stages
  20. Types of Activated T-Cells


Dendritic cells are cells of the innate immune system that serve a crucial role in connecting the innate and adaptive immune responses. As phagocytes, dendritic cells monitor body surfaces for foreign pathogens. When they recognize a foreign pathogen, dendritic cells engulf or eat these pathogens, and digest them into little pieces called antigens. These antigens are then presented on their cell surface for recognition by T-cells to stimulate an adaptive immune response against the invading threat.

Key Points

  • Dendritic Cells
    • Innate immune cell
    • Phagocyte
      • Patrols outer surfaces of the body (skin, GI tract, etc.) to identify and eat possible pathogens
      • Foreign pathogens are put into phagosomes, which fuse with lysosomes to break down the pathogen
    • Presents antigens
      • Bridge between innate and adaptive immune response
      • Phagocytosed and processed antigens may be presented on cell surface for recognition by T-cells