Langerhans' cells in a normal airway: A section of lung from a patient without LCH was stained for CD1a. This bronchiole shows the normal, intraepithelial location of mucosal Langerhans' cells.

Electron micrograph of Langerhans' cell (A): Note the normal N/C ratio and the indented nucleus. The cell is rounded and lacks dendritic processes. In the cytoplasm (arrows) are several Birbeck bodies, which are the characteristic feature of the Langerhans' cell. These bodies have been shown to be intracytoplasmic extensions of the cell membrane. Note their small size.


At higher magnification (B), several pentalaminar, Birbeck bodies are seen. A bilayer on each side encloses a central monolayer, zipper-like structure to constitute 5 layers. The body at the arrow arrow has an expanded, racquet-shaped terminal portion. The bodies have a variable length and are 33 nm in diameter at the "handle."



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