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Definition of Dendritic cell

Dendritic cell: A special type of cell that is a key regulator of the immune system, acting as a professional antigen-presenting cell (APC) capable of activating na´ve T cells and stimulating the growth and differentiation of B cells.

Dendritic cells are found, for example, in the lymph nodes and spleen. As an APC, a dendritic cell can retain antigen for long periods on its surface, present the antigen to a T or B cell and so influence their behavior.

The word "dendritic" means "branched like a tree." It comes from the Greek "dendron" (tree).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=19035
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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