Sniping the scout: Targeting the key molecules in dendritic cell functions for treatment of autoimmune diseases

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Dendritic cells (DCs) are a power tool for manipulating immune system. They play important roles in the induction of immunity as well as inducing intrathymic and peripheral tolerance. After generated from stem cells in the bone marrow, DCs traffic to the peripheral tissues, where they capture and process antigens, express lymphocyte co-stimulators, migrate to the secondary lymph organs and present the processed antigen to naive T cells to either activate or tolerize them. These processes are modulated subtly and influenced by various factors. Aberrant regulation of the processes may cause autoimmunity. Investigation into the biology of DCs and the molecules and mechanisms that regulate them helps us understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases and reveals numerous steps for pharmacological manipulation. In this review, we made a sketch line of the critical events of DC biology that are potential pharmacologic targets for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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