Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is an inflammatory myeloid neoplasia characterized by pathological CD207+ dendritic cells (DCs) with persistent mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation. Investigations into LCH have historically been challenged by the small percentage of pathologic CD207+ DCs. No cell lines with morphology or function representing LCH lesion CD207+ DCs currently exist. We utilized four strategies to generate cell line(s) mimicking differentiated LCH pathogenic cells. First, CD207+ cells were isolated from the lesion of an LCH patient and cultured in a cytokine cocktail. The cells maintained CD1a and CD207 expression for two weeks, after which there were significant changes in cell morphology and progression to cell death. When a similar approach was implemented to isolate and culture skin CD207+ cells, the cells were viable for only three days, supporting the potential role for somatic activating MAPK mutations in LCH lesion DCs to prolong viability. CD207+ cells were then isolated from HLA-DR+ (lineage negative) cells from the lymphoid stroma of healthy tonsils (tCD207+). The tCD207+ cells were transduced with a lentivirus encoding human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). These cells, also lacking MAPK activating mutations, died two weeks post-transduction. A fourth approach has been more successful in which tCD207+ cells were cultured in a cytokine cocktail which provided MAPK pathway stimulation. The cells retained CD207 expression and survived in culture for over two weeks. The cells were then immortalized using a lentivirus encoding HOXA9. Immortalized cells maintained CD207 expression. Allele specific MAPK pathway mutations (BRAF and MAP2K1) are being generated by class II CRISPR/Cpf1 genome editing as Cpf1 has been shown to have robust activity to induce specific disruption of only mutant, but not wild-type, BRAF allele. The phenotypic and genomic characteristics of the immortalized cells expressing the different MAPK pathway mutations will be assessed by RHG-banding cytogenetic analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization, gene expression analysis, and immuno‐cytochemistry and results will be compared to cells isolated from LCH lesions to confirm whether the established cell line may be a viable in vitro mimic of the LCH lesion DC.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.