Dengue Virus Infects Human Skin Langerhans Cells through Langerin for Dissemination to Dendritic Cells

Leanne C. Helgers, Nadia C. H. Keijzer, John L. van Hamme, Joris K. Sprokholt, Teunis B. H. Geijtenbeek

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Dengue virus (DENV) is the most disease-causative flavivirus worldwide. DENV as a mosquito-borne virus infects human hosts through the skin; however, the initial target cells in the skin remain unclear. In this study, we have investigated whether epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs) play a role in DENV acquisition and dissemination. We have used a human epidermal ex vivo infection model as well as isolated LCs to investigate infection by DENV. Notably, both immature and mature LCs were permissive to DENV infection in vitro and ex vivo, and infection was dependent on C-type lectin receptor langerin because blocking antibodies against langerin significantly reduced DENV infection in vitro and ex vivo. DENV-infected LCs efficiently transmitted DENV to target cells such as dendritic cells. Moreover, DENV exposure increased the migration of LCs from epidermal explants. These results strongly suggest that DENV targets epidermal LCs for infection and dissemination in the human host. These findings could provide potential drug targets to combat the early stage of DENV infection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Early online date2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • Dendritic cells
  • Dengue virus
  • Langerhans cells
  • Langerin
  • Transmission

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