CD1a is a protein of 43 to 49kD expressed on dendritic cells and cortical thymocytes. CD1a antigen expression has been shown to be useful in differentiating Langerhans cells, powerful antigen presenting cells present in skin and epithelia, from interdigitating cells. Immunohistochemical studies for CD1a antigen have reported a reduction in epidermal Langerhans cells in graft versus host disease and the participation of CD1a antigen-positive dendritic cells in atherosclerotic lesion formation and asthmatic inflammation.
Clone MTB1 detects cortical thymocytes, Langerhans cells in epidermis, interdigitating cells of dermis and interdigitating cells of stratified squamous epithelium of tonsil. Clone MTB1 may also detect small focal groups of lymphocytes outside the germinal centers of tonsil indicating a cross-reaction with CD1b antigen
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