Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Pig skin includes dendritic cell subsets transcriptomically related to human CD1a and CD14 dendritic cells presenting different migrating behaviors and T cell activation capacities.

PMID 25385823


Swine skin is one of the best structural models for human skin, widely used to probe drug transcutaneous passage and to test new skin vaccination devices. However, little is known about its composition in immune cells, and among them dendritic cells (DC), that are essential in the initiation of the immune response. After a first seminal work describing four different DC subpopulations in pig skin, we hereafter deepen the characterization of these cells, showing the similarities between swine DC subsets and their human counterparts. Using comparative transcriptomic study, classical phenotyping as well as in vivo and in vitro functional studies, we show that swine CD163(pos) dermal DC (DDC) are transcriptomically similar to the human CD14(pos) DDC. CD163(pos) DDC are recruited in inflamed skin, they migrate in inflamed lymph but they are not attracted toward CCL21, and they modestly activate allogeneic CD8 T cells. We also show that CD163(low) DDC are transcriptomically similar to the human CD1a(pos) DDC. CD163(low) DDC migrate toward CCL21, they activate allogeneic CD8 and CD4 T cells and, like their potential human lung counterpart, they skew CD4 T cells toward a Th17 profile. We thus conclude that swine skin is a relevant model for human skin vaccination.

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