Dendritic cells (DCs) are critical in both initiating adaptive immune responses and maintaining tolerance to self antigens. These apparently contradictory roles have been suggested to depend on different subsets of DCs that arise from either myeloid or lymphoid hematopoietic origins, respectively. Although DC expression of CD8α is attributed to a lymphoid origin, here we show that both CD8α+ and CD8α- DCs can arise from clonogenic common myeloid progenitors in both thymus and spleen. Thus, expression of CD8α is not indicative of a lymphoid origin, and phenotypic and functional differences among DC subsets are likely to reflect maturation status rather than ontogeny.
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