A properly functioning adaptive immune system signifies the best features of life. It is diverse beyond compare, tolerant without fail, and capable of behaving appropriately with a myriad of infections and other challenges. Dendritic cells (DCs) are required to explain how this remarkable system is energized and directed. DCs consist of a family of antigen presenting cells, which are bone-marrow-derived cells that patrol all tissues of the body with the possible exceptions of the brain and testes. DCs function to capture bacteria and other pathogens for processing and presentation to T cells in the secondary lymphoid organs. They serve as an essential link between innate and adaptive immune systems and induce both primary and secondary immune responses. As a result of progress worldwide, there is now evidence of a central role for dendritic cells in initiating antigen-specific immunity and tolerance. This review addresses the origins and migration of DCs to target sites, their basic biology and plasticity in playing a key role in periodontal diseases, and finally, selected strategies being pursued to harness its ability to prevent periodontal diseases.
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