Comparison between the density of Langerhans’ cells in the prepuce of neonates and adult males

*Felix Mutale, Elliot Bufuku Kafumukache, Kaile Trevor


Langerhans cells (LCs) in epidermis function as sentinel antigen-presenting cells that can capture invading viruses like Herpes Simplex Virus, Varicella-zoster virus and Human  Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This interaction between  Langerhans cells and viruses is highly variable depending on the virus. Herpes Simplex induces apoptosis in LCs but HIV does not, instead it presents the HIV to T-cells in lymph nodes which in turn get infected. Langerhans cells in the prepuce are therefore, a portal of entry for HIV. Hence, world health organisation  recommends male circumcision to reduce the densities of  Langerhans cells. Fifteen fresh foreskins were obtained from adult males aged 18 years and above after circumcision, five had past history of ulcerative STI and five fresh foreskins were obtained from neonates. The specimens were fixed using 10% buffered formalin and transported to the histopathology laboratory where the tissues were grossed examined and embedded using paraffin wax. The formalin fixed paraffin blocks were then sectioned into 3-5um sections and then followed by immunohistochemistry staining. The primary monoclonal antibodies (anti-CD1a) targeting Langerhans cells were used and LCs counting was done. The mean Langerhans cells density in neonates was  36.6±5.273/mm2,while adults without past history of ulcerative STIs was 69.4±8.847/mm2 and those with history of ulcerative STIs was 88.4±7.273/mm2.Both age and past history of ulcerative STIs have an influence on the density of Langerhans cell on the prepuce. The neonates showed lower densities than adults. Adults with history of ulcerative STIs had higher densities than those without. Uncircumcised individuals with history of ulcerative STIs maybe more susceptible to acquisition and transmission of HIV through the prepuce than those without such history due to greater LCs densities.

Key words: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Langerhans Cells (LC),
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).

Download PDF