Human BDCA3+ dendritic cells (DCs) were suggested to be homologous to mouse CD8α+ DCs. We demonstrate that human BDCA3+ DCs are more efficient than their BDCA1+ counterparts or plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in cross-presenting antigen and activating CD8+ T cells, which is similar to mouse CD8α+ DCs as compared with CD11b+ DCs or pDCs, although with more moderate differences between human DC subsets. Yet, no specific marker was known to be shared between homologous DC subsets across species. We found that XC chemokine receptor 1 (XCR1) is specifically expressed and active in mouse CD8α+, human BDCA3+, and sheep CD26+ DCs and is conserved across species. The mRNA encoding the XCR1 ligand chemokine (C motif) ligand 1 (XCL1) is selectively expressed in natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T lymphocytes at steady-state and is enhanced upon activation. Moreover, the Xcl1 mRNA is selectively expressed at high levels in central memory compared with naive CD8+ T lymphocytes. Finally, XCR1−/− mice have decreased early CD8+ T cell responses to Listeria monocytogenes infection, which is associated with higher bacterial loads early in infection. Therefore, XCR1 constitutes the first conserved specific marker for cell subsets homologous to mouse CD8α+ DCs in higher vertebrates and promotes their ability to activate early CD8+ T cell defenses against an intracellular pathogenic bacteria.
Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (PDCs) infiltrating solid tumor tissues and draining lymph nodes of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) show an impaired immune response. In addition to an attenuated secretion of IFN-α little is known about other HNSCC-induced functional alterations in PDCs. Particular objectives in this project were to gain new insights regarding tumor-induced phenotypical and functional alterations in the PDC population. We showed by FACS analysis and RT-PCR that HNSCC orchestrates an as yet unknown subpopulation exhibiting functional autonomy in-vitro and in-vivo besides bearing phenotypical resemblance to PDCs and T cells. A subset, positive for the PDC markers CD123, BDCA-2, HLA-DR and the T cell receptor αβ (TCR-αβ) was significantly induced subsequent to stimulation with HNSCC in-vitro (p = 0.009) and also present in metastatic lymph nodes in-vivo. This subgroup could be functionally distinguished due to an enhanced production of IL-2 (p = 0.02), IL-6 (p = 0.0007) and TGF-β (not significant). Furthermore, after exposure to HNSCC cells, mRNA levels revealed a D-J-beta rearrangement of the TCR-beta chain besides a strong enhancement of the CD3ε chain in the PDC population. Our data indicate an interface between the PDC and T cell lineage. These findings will improve our understanding of phenotypical and functional intricacies concerning the very heterogeneous PDC population in-vivo.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells are present in lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissue and contribute substantially to both innate and adaptive immunity. Recently, we have described several monoclonal antibodies that recognize a plasmacytoid dendritic cell-specific antigen, which we have termed BDCA-2. Molecular cloning of BDCA-2 revealed that BDCA-2 is a novel type II C-type lectin, which shows 50.7% sequence identity at the amino acid level to its putative murine ortholog, the murine dendritic cell–associated C-type lectin 2. Anti–BDCA-2 monoclonal antibodies are rapidly internalized and efficiently presented to T cells, indicating that BDCA-2 could play a role in ligand internalization and presentation. Furthermore, ligation of BDCA-2 potently suppresses induction of interferon α/β production in plasmacytoid dendritic cells, presumably by a mechanism dependent on calcium mobilization and protein-tyrosine phosphorylation by src-family protein-tyrosine kinases. Inasmuch as production of interferon α/β by plasmacytoid dendritic cells is considered to be a major pathophysiological factor in systemic lupus erythematosus, triggering of BDCA-2 should be evaluated as therapeutic strategy for blocking production of interferon α/β in systemic lupus erythematosus patients.
interferon type I; monoclonal antibodies; magnetic cell sorting; interferon inducers; systemic lupus erythematosus
Dendritic cells are equipped with lectin receptors to sense the extracellular environment and modulate cellular responses. Human plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) uniquely express blood dendritic cell antigen 2 (BDCA2) protein, a C-type lectin lacking an identifiable signaling motif. We demonstrate here that BDCA2 forms a complex with the transmembrane adapter FcɛRIγ. Through pathway analysis, we identified a comprehensive signaling machinery in human pDCs, similar to that which operates downstream of the B cell receptor (BCR), which is distinct from the system involved in T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. BDCA2 crosslinking resulted in the activation of the BCR-like cascade, which potently suppressed the ability of pDCs to produce type I interferon and other cytokines in response to Toll-like receptor ligands. Therefore, by associating with FcɛRIγ, BDCA2 activates a novel BCR-like signaling pathway to regulate the immune functions of pDCs.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized sentinels in the immune system that detect invading pathogens and, upon activation, initiate immune responses. DCs express C-type lectin receptors on their surface, which facilitate antigen capture. A distinct population of DCs, called plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs), display an extraordinary ability to rapidly make huge amounts of antiviral interferon (IFN) against viral infections. Human pDCs uniquely express a C-type lectin named BDCA2 that potently regulates pDCs function, yet the mechanism of how BDCA2 transduces signals is unknown. We show here that BDCA2 forms a complex with the transmembrane adapter FcɛRIγ. Using signaling pathway analysis, we discovered a comprehensive signaling machinery in human pDCs, similar to that which operates downstream of B cell receptors (BCRs), but distinct from the pathway involved in T cell receptor signaling. By associating with FcɛRIγ, BDCA2 activates a novel BCR-like signaling pathway to regulate the immune functions of pDCs. Since several pDC receptors use this pathway to modulate IFN and cytokine responses, these findings will guide more studies on how pDCs are regulated. Such mechanisms may lead to potential therapeutic interventions in autoimmune diseases involving hyperactivated pDCs, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are renowned for their production of type 1 interferon in response to viral infection, which is signified by Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation. Here, blood dendritic cell antigen 2(BDCA2), a C-type lectin receptor expressed uniquely on pDCs, is shown to block the ultimate effectors of TLR signaling via a novel pathway.
The human plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) receptor BDCA2 forms a complex with the adaptor FcεR1γ to activate an ITAM-signaling cascade. BDCA2 receptor signaling negatively regulates the TLR7/9-mediated type 1 IFN responses in pDCs, which may play a key role in controlling self-DNA/RNA–induced autoimmunity. We report in this article that CD2-associated adaptor protein (CD2AP), which is highly expressed in human pDCs, positively regulates BDCA2/FcεR1γ receptor signaling. By immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry analyses, we found that CD2AP bound to SHIP1. Knockdown of CD2AP or SHIP1 reduced the BDCA2/FcεR1γ-mediated ITAM signaling and blocked its inhibition of TLR9-mediated type 1 IFN production. Knockdown of CD2AP or SHIP1 also enhanced the ubiquitination and degradation of Syk and FcεR1γ that was mediated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl. This led us to discover that, upon BDCA2 cross-linking, the CD2AP/SHIP1 complex associated with Cbl and inhibited its E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. In human primary pDCs, cross-linking of the BDCA2/FcεR1γ complex induced the recruitment of the CD2AP/SHIP1/Cbl complex to the plasma membrane of pDCs, where it colocalized with the BDCA2/FcεR1γ complex. Therefore, CD2AP positively regulates BDCA2/FcεR1γ signaling by forming a complex with SHIP1 to inhibit the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl.
In recent years, human dendritic cells (DCs) could be subdivided into CD304+ plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and conventional DCs (cDCs), the latter encompassing the CD1c+, CD16+, and CD141+ DC subsets. To date, the low frequency of these DCs in human blood has essentially prevented functional studies defining their specific contribution to antigen presentation. We have established a protocol for an effective isolation of pDC and cDC subsets to high purity. Using this approach, we show that CD141+ DCs are the only cells in human blood that express the chemokine receptor XCR1 and respond to the specific ligand XCL1 by Ca2+ mobilization and potent chemotaxis. More importantly, we demonstrate that CD141+ DCs excel in cross-presentation of soluble or cell-associated antigen to CD8+ T cells when directly compared with CD1c+ DCs, CD16+ DCs, and pDCs from the same donors. Both in their functional XCR1 expression and their effective processing and presentation of exogenous antigen in the context of major histocompatibility complex class I, human CD141+ DCs correspond to mouse CD8+ DCs, a subset known for superior antigen cross-presentation in vivo. These data define CD141+ DCs as professional antigen cross-presenting DCs in the human.
The interferon-producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) share common progenitors with antigen-presenting classical dendritic cells (cDCs), yet they possess distinct morphology and molecular features resembling those of lymphocytes. It is unclear whether the unique cell fate of pDCs is actively maintained in the steady state. We report that the deletion of transcription factor E2-2 from mature peripheral pDCs caused their spontaneous differentiation into cells with cDC properties. This included the loss of pDC markers, increase in MHC class II expression and T cell priming capacity, acquisition of dendritic morphology and induction of cDC signature genes. Genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed direct binding of E2-2 to key pDC-specific and lymphoid genes, as well as to certain genes enriched in cDCs. Thus, E2-2 actively maintains the cell fate of mature pDCs and opposes the “default” cDC fate, in part through direct regulation of lineage-specific gene expression programs.
To investigate the distribution of mast cells and dendritic cell (DC) subsets in paired muscle and skin (lesional/nonlesional) from untreated children with juvenile dermatomyositis (DM).
Muscle and skin biopsy samples (4 skin biopsy samples with active rash) from 7 patients with probable/definite juvenile DM were compared with muscle and skin samples from 10 healthy pediatric controls. Mast cell distribution and number were assessed by toluidine blue staining and analyzed by Student’s t-test. Immunohistochemical analysis was performed to identify mature DCs, myeloid DCs (MDCs), and plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs) by using antibodies against DC-LAMP, blood dendritic cell antigen 1 (BDCA-1), and BDCA-2, respectively. Myxovirus resistance protein A (MxA) staining indicated active type I interferon (IFN) signaling; positive staining was scored semiquantitatively and analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test.
Both inflamed and nonlesional skin from patients with juvenile DM contained more mast cells than did skin from pediatric controls (P = 0.029), and comparable numbers of mast cells were present in lesional and nonlesional skin. Interestingly, mast cell numbers were greater in skin than in paired muscle tissue from patients with juvenile DM (P = 0.014) and were not increased in muscle from patients with juvenile DM compared with control muscle. Both muscle and skin from patients with juvenile DM showed more mature PDCs and MxA staining than did their corresponding control tissues (P < 0.05). In both muscle and skin from patients with juvenile DM and in pediatric control muscle, there were fewer MDCs than PDCs, and the distributions of MDCs and PDCs were similar in pediatric control skin samples.
The identification of mast cells in skin (irrespective of rash) from patients with juvenile DM, but not in paired muscle tissue, suggests that they have a specific role in juvenile DM skin pathophysiology. In skin from patients with juvenile DM, increased numbers of PDCs and increased expression of type I IFN–induced protein suggest a selective influence on T cell differentiation and subsequent effector function.
The development of distinct dendritic cell (DC) subsets is regulated by cytokines. Flt3-ligand- (Flt3L) is necessary for plasmacytoid (pDC) and conventional DC (cDC) maturation. GM-CSF inhibits Flt3L-driven pDC production while promoting cDC growth. We show that GM-CSF selectively utilizes STAT5 to block Flt3L-dependent pDC development from the lineage-negative, Flt3+ (lin−/Flt3+) bone marrow subset. STAT3, by contrast, is necessary for expansion of DC progenitors but not pDC maturation. In vivo, STAT5 suppresses pDC formation during repopulation of the DC compartment following bone marrow ablation. GM-CSF/STAT5 signaling rapidly extinguishes pDC-related gene expression in lin−/Flt3+ progenitors. Inspection of the Irf8 promoter revealed that STAT5 is recruited during GM-CSF-mediated suppression, indicating STAT5 directly inhibits transcription of this critical pDC gene. Our results therefore show that GM-CSF controls the production of pDCs by employing STAT5 to suppress IRF8 and the pDC transcriptional network in lin−/Flt3+ progenitors.
plasmacytoid dendritic cells; GM-CSF; STAT5; development; FLT3
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as critical regulators of many cellular responses, through the action of miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC)- or miRNA ribonucleoprotein complex (miRNP)-mediated gene repression. Here we studied the role of miRNAs in the development of dendritic cells (DCs), an important immune cell type that is divided into conventional DC (cDC) and plasmacytoid DC (pDC) subsets. We found that miR-22 was highly expressed in mouse CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDCs compared to pDCs, and was induced in DC progenitor cell cultures with GM-CSF, which stimulate CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC differentiation. Enforced overexpression of miR-22 during DC development enhanced CD11c+ CD11b+ B220− cDC generation at the expense of pDCs, while miR-22 knockdown demonstrated opposite effects. Moreover, overexpression and knockdown of miR-22 showed significant effects on the mRNA abundance of Irf8, which encodes the transcription factor IRF8 that plays essential roles in DC development. Luciferase reporter assays confirmed that miR-22 binds directly to the 3′UTR of the mouse Irf8 mRNA. Collectively, these results suggest that miR-22 targets Irf8 mRNA for posttranscriptional repression and controls DC subset differentiation.
Peripheral blood dendritic cells seem to play a crucial role in psoriatic inflammatory processes. The aim of our study is to investigate the relationship between plasma interleukin-18 (IL-18) levels and blood dendritic cells in psoriatic patients. IL-18 plasma levels were measured by ELISA. Phenotypes of dendritic cell subsets were analyzed by double-colour flow cytometry. Plasma IL-18 level in psoriatic males was significantly higher, whereas counts of BDCA-2+ cells were lower than in the control group. The myeloid/plasmacytoid ratio was significantly higher in the patient group compared to the control one. In the patient group, significant negative correlations between plasma IL-18 level and both the BDCA-1+ and BDCA-2+ counts were found. BDCA-1+ counts correlated negatively with percentage of skin involvement. IL-18 seems to play a role in psoriasis pathogenesis. The decreased counts of blood plasmacytoid DCs in psoriatic patients might result from IL-18 down-regulation of plasmacytoid DC
While physiological development of human lymphoid subsets has become well documented in humanized mice, in vivo development of human myeloid subsets in a xenotransplantation setting has remained unevaluated. Therefore, we investigated in vivo differentiation and function of human myeloid subsets in NOD/SCID/IL2rγnull (NSG) mouse recipients transplanted with purified lineage−CD34+CD38− cord blood hematopoietic stem cells. At four to six months post-transplantation, we identified the development of human neutrophils, basophils, mast cells, monocytes, as well as conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells in the recipient hematopoietic organs. The tissue distribution and morphology of these human myeloid cells were similar to those identified in humans. Following cytokine stimulation in vitro, phosphorylation of STAT molecules was observed in neutrophils and monocytes. In vivo administration of human G-CSF resulted in the recruitment of human myeloid cells into the recipient circulation. Flow cytometry and confocal imaging demonstrated that human bone marrow monocytes and alveolar macrophages in the recipients displayed intact phagocytic function. Human BM-derived monocytes/macrophages were further confirmed to exhibit phagocytosis and killing of Salmonella Typhimurium upon the IFN-γ stimulation. These findings demonstrate the development of mature and functionally intact human myeloid subsets in vivo in the NSG recipients. In vivo human myelopoiesis established in the NSG humanized mouse system may facilitate the investigation of human myeloid cell biology including in vivo analyses of infectious diseases and therapeutic interventions.
Human; Stem Cells; Cell Differentiation
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs) play a pivotal role as cytokine-secreting accessory cells in the antimicrobial immune defense. In contrast, the capacity of PDCs to act as antigen-presenting cells in naive T cell priming remains unclear. By studying T cell responses in mice that lack conventional DCs (cDCs), and by the use of a PDC-specific antigen-targeting strategy, we show that PDCs can initiate productive naive CD4+ T cell responses in lymph nodes, but not in the spleen. PDC-triggered CD4+ T cell responses differed from cDC-driven responses in that they were not associated with concomitant CD8+ T cell priming. Our results establish PDCs as a bona fide DC subset that initiates unique CD4+ Th cell–dominated primary immune responses.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are rarely present in normal skin but have been shown to infiltrate lesions of infections or autoimmune disorders. Here, we report that several DC subsets including CD123+ BDCA-2/CD303+ pDC accumulate in the dermis in indurations induced by the tuberculin skin test (TST), used to screen immune sensitization by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Although the purified protein derivate (PPD) used in the TST did not itself induce pDC recruitment or IFNα production, the positive skin reactions showed high expression of the IFNα inducible protein MxA. In contrast, the local immune response to PPD was associated with substantial cell death and high expression of the cationic antimicrobial peptide LL37, which together can provide a means for pDC activation and IFNα production. In vitro, pDC showed low uptake of PPD compared to CD11c+ and BDCA-3/CD141+ myeloid DC subsets. Furthermore, supernatants from pDC activated with LL37-DNA complexes reduced the high PPD uptake in myeloid DC as well as decreased their capacity to activate T cell proliferation. Infiltrating pDC in the TST reaction site may thus have a regulatory effect upon the antigen processing and presentation functions of surrounding potent myeloid DC subsets to limit potentially detrimental and excessive immune stimulation.
dendritic cells; plasmacytoid dendritic cells; skin; tuberculin skin test; LL37; delayed hypersensitivity reaction; PPD
Lower respiratory tract infections caused by the paramyxoviruses human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are characterized by short-lasting virus-specific immunity and often long term airway morbidity, both of which may be the result of alterations in the antigen presenting function of the lung which follow these infections. In this study, we investigated whether hMPV and RSV experimental infections alter the phenotype and function of dendritic cells (DC) subsets which are recruited to the lung. Characterization of lung DC trafficking demonstrated a differential recruitment of plasmacytoid DC (pDC), conventional DC (cDC) and interferon-producing killer DC (IKDC) to the lung and draining lymph nodes after hMPV and RSV infection. In vitro infection of lung DC indicated that in pDC, production of IFN-α, TNF-α, and CCL5 was induced only by hMPV while CCL3 and CCL4 were induced by both viruses. In cDC, a similar repertoire of cytokines was induced by hMPV and RSV, except for IFN-β, which was not induced by RSV. The function of lung pDC was altered following hMPV or RSV infection in vivo, as we demonstrated a reduced capacity of lung pDC to produce IFN-α as well as other cytokines including IL-6, TNF-α, CCL2, CCL3 and CCL4 in response to TLR9 agonist. Moreover, we observed an impaired capacity of cDC from infected mice to present Ag to CD4+ T cells, an effect that lasted beyond the acute phase of infection. Our findings suggest that acute paramyxovirus infections can alter the long term immune function of pulmonary DC.
Dendritic cells; Lung; Viral; Cytokines; Cell trafficking
NK cells play an important role in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) and in cross talk with dendritic cells (DCs) to induce primary T cell response against infection. Therefore, we hypothesized that blood DCs should augment NK cell function and reduce the risk of leukemia relapse after HCT. To test this hypothesis, we conducted laboratory and clinical studies in parallel. We found that although phenotypically NK cells could induce DC maturation and DCs could in turn increase activating marker expression on NK cells, paradoxically, both BDCA1+ myeloid DCs and BDCA4+ plasmacytoid DCs suppressed the function of NK cells. Patients who received an HLA-haploidentical graft containing larger number of BDCA1+ DCs or BDCA4+ DCs had a higher risk of leukemia relapse and poorer survival. Further experiments indicated that the potent inhibition on NK cell cytokine production and cytotoxicity was mediated in part through the secretion of IL-10 by BDCA1+ DCs and IL-6 by BDCA4+ DCs. These results have significant implications for future HCT strategies.
Alloegenic hematopoietic cell transplantation; pediatric leukemia; human NK cell; dendritic cell
The ability of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes to adhere to host endothelial cells via receptor molecules such as ICAM-1 and CD36 is considered a hallmark for the development of severe malaria syndromes. These molecules are also expressed on leukocytes such as dendritic cells. Dendritic cells are antigen-presenting cells that are crucial for the initiation of adaptive immune responses. In many human diseases, their frequency and function is perturbed. We analyzed the frequency of peripheral blood dendritic cell subsets and the plasma concentrations of interleukin-10 (IL-10) and IL-12 in Kenyan children with severe malaria and during convalescence and related these parameters to the adhesion phenotype of the acute parasite isolates. The frequency of CD1c+ dendritic cells in children with acute malaria was comparable to that in healthy controls, but the frequency of BDCA3+ dendritic cells was significantly increased. Analysis of the adhesion phenotypes of parasite isolates revealed that adhesion to ICAM-1 was associated with the frequency of peripheral blood CD1c+ dendritic cells, whereas the adhesion of infected erythrocytes to CD36 correlated with high concentrations of IL-10 and low concentrations of IL-12 in plasma.
Psoriasis is a type I interferon-driven T cell–mediated disease characterized by the recruitment of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) into the skin. The molecules involved in pDC accumulation in psoriasis lesions are unknown. Chemerin is the only inflammatory chemotactic factor that is directly active on human blood pDC in vitro. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of the chemerin/ChemR23 axis in the recruitment of pDC in psoriasis skin. Prepsoriatic skin adjacent to active lesions and early lesions were characterized by a strong expression of chemerin in the dermis and by the presence of CD15+ neutrophils and CD123+/BDCA-2+/ChemR23+ pDC. Conversely, skin from chronic plaques showed low chemerin expression, segregation of neutrophils to epidermal microabscesses, and few pDC in the dermis. Chemerin expression was localized mainly in fibroblasts, mast cells, and endothelial cells. Fibroblasts cultured from skin of psoriatic lesions expressed higher levels of chemerin messenger RNA and protein than fibroblasts from uninvolved psoriatic skin or healthy donors and promoted pDC migration in vitro in a chemerin-dependent manner. Therefore, chemerin expression specifically marks the early phases of evolving skin psoriatic lesions and is temporally strictly associated with pDC. These results support a role for the chemerin/ChemR23 axis in the early phases of psoriasis development.
In mouse, a subset of dendritic cells (DCs) known as CD8α+ DCs has emerged as an important player in the regulation of T cell responses and a promising target in vaccination strategies. However, translation into clinical protocols has been hampered by the failure to identify CD8α+ DCs in humans. Here, we characterize a population of human DCs that expresses DNGR-1 (CLEC9A) and high levels of BDCA3 and resembles mouse CD8α+ DCs in phenotype and function. We describe the presence of such cells in the spleens of humans and humanized mice and report on a protocol to generate them in vitro. Like mouse CD8α+ DCs, human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs express Necl2, CD207, BATF3, IRF8, and TLR3, but not CD11b, IRF4, TLR7, or (unlike CD8α+ DCs) TLR9. DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs respond to poly I:C and agonists of TLR8, but not of TLR7, and produce interleukin (IL)-12 when given innate and T cell–derived signals. Notably, DNGR-1+ BDCA3+ DCs from in vitro cultures efficiently internalize material from dead cells and can cross-present exogenous antigens to CD8+ T cells upon treatment with poly I:C. The characterization of human DNGR-1+ BDCA3hi DCs and the ability to grow them in vitro opens the door for exploiting this subset in immunotherapy.
Circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) decline during HIV-1 infection, but at the same time they express markedly higher levels of interferon alpha (IFNα), which is associated with HIV-1 disease progression. Here we show an accumulation of pDC in lymph nodes (LN) of treatment-naïve HIV-1 patients. This phenomenon was associated with elevated expression of the LN homing marker, CCR7, on pDC in peripheral blood of HIV-1 patients, which conferred increased migratory capacity in response to CCR7 ligands in ex vivo functional assays. LN-homed pDC of HIV-1 patients presented higher CD40 and lower BDCA2 levels, but unchanged CD83 and CD86 expression. In addition, these cells expressed markedly higher amounts of IFNα compared to uninfected individuals, and were undergoing faster rates of cell death. These results demonstrate for the first time that in asymptomatic, untreated HIV-1 patients circulating pDC up-regulate CCR7 expression, accumulate in lymph nodes, and express high amounts of IFNα before undergoing cell death. Since IFNα inhibits cell proliferation and modulates immune responses, chronically high levels of this cytokine in LN of HIV-1 patients may impair differentiation and immune function of bystander CD4+ T cells, thus playing into the mechanisms of AIDS immunopathogenesis.
Many dendritic cells (DCs) in the normal mouse thymus are generated intrathymically from common T cell/DC progenitors. However, our previous work suggested that at least 50% of thymic DCs originate independently of these progenitors. We now formally demonstrate by parabiotic, adoptive transfer, and developmental studies that two of the three major subsets of thymic DCs originate extrathymically and continually migrate to the thymus, where they occupy a finite number of microenvironmental niches. The thymus-homing DCs consisted of immature plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) and the signal regulatory protein α–positive (Sirpα+) CD11b+ CD8α− subset of conventional DCs (cDCs), both of which could take up and transport circulating antigen to the thymus. The cDCs of intrathymic origin were mostly Sirpα− CD11b− CD8αhi cells. Upon arrival in the thymus, the migrant pDCs enlarged and up-regulated CD11c, major histocompatibility complex II (MHC II), and CD8α, but maintained their plasmacytoid morphology. In contrast, the migrant cDCs proliferated extensively, up-regulated CD11c, MHC II, and CD86, and expressed dendritic processes. The possible functional implications of these findings are discussed.
Dendritic cells (DC) play a key role in initiation and regulation of immune responses. Plasmacytoid DC (pDC), a small subset of DC, characterized as type-I interferon producing cells, are critically involved in anti-viral immune responses, but also mediate tolerance by induction of regulatory T cells (Treg). In this study, we compared the capacity of human pDC and conventional DC (cDC) to modulate T cell activity in presence of Foxp3+ Treg.
In coculture of T effector cells (Teff) and Treg, activated cDC overcome Treg anergy, abrogate their suppressive function and induce Teff proliferation. In contrast, pDC do not break Treg anergy but induce Teff proliferation even in coculture with Treg. Lack of Treg-mediated suppression is independent of proinflammatory cytokines like IFN-α, IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-α. Phenotyping of pDC-stimulated Treg reveals a reduced expression of Treg activation markers GARP and CTLA-4. Additional stimulation by anti-CD3 antibodies enhances surface expression of GARP and CTLA-4 on Treg and consequently reconstitutes their suppressive function, while increased costimulation with anti-CD28 antibodies is ineffective.
Our data show that activated pDC induce Teff proliferation, but are insufficient for functional Treg activation and, therefore, allow expansion of Teff also in presence of Treg.
Unlike conventional dendritic cells (cDC), plasmacytoid DCs (pDC) are poor in antigen presentation and critical for type I interferon response. While proposed to be present in human atherosclerotic lesions, their role in atherosclerosis remains elusive.
To investigate the role of pDC in atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
We show that pDC are scarcely present in human atherosclerotic lesions, and almost absent in mouse plaques. Surprisingly, pDC depletion by 120G8 mAb administration was seen to promote plaque T cell accumulation and exacerbate lesion development and progression in LDLr−/− mice. PDC depletion was accompanied by increased CD4+ T cell proliferation, IFN-γ expression by splenic T cells and plasma IFN-γ levels. Lymphoid tissue pDC from atherosclerotic mice showed increased indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) expression and IDO blockage abrogated the pDC suppressive effect on T cell proliferation.
Our data reveal a protective role for pDC in atherosclerosis, possibly by dampening T cell proliferation and activity in peripheral lymphoid tissue, rendering pDC an interesting target for future therapeutic interventions.
Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; atherosclerosis; immune tolerance; T cells
To determine the role of interferon-alpha in controlling HIV infection we phenotypically and functionally analyzed circulating plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), which are known to be the highest interferon-alpha producing cells, in 33 perinatally infected HIV+ patients undergoing standard antiretroviral therapy.
Circulating pDC were identified by flow cytometry using anti-BDCA-2 monoclonal antibody and by measuring BDCA-2 mRNA by real-time PCR, while tissue-resident pDC were identified by immunohistochemistry. mRNA for interferon-alpha and MxA, a gene that is specifically induced by interferon-alpha, was quantified in peripheral blood cells by real-time PCR, while serum interferon-alpha protein was measured by ELISA.
While median values of pDC, both in terms of percentage and absolute number, were not statistically different from age-matched controls, interferon-alpha mRNA was increased in HIV-infected patients. However, in a group of patients with long disease duration, having a low number of both pDC and CD4+ lymphocytes and a significant increase of serum interferon-alpha, MxA mRNA was produced at high level and its expression directly correlated with HIV RNA copy numbers. Furthermore in patients displaying a low CD4+ blood cell count, a severe depletion of pDC in the tonsils could be documented.
HIV replication unresponsive to antiretroviral treatment in perinatal-infected patients with advanced disease and pDC depletion may lead to interferon-alpha expression and subsequent induction of MxA mRNA. Thus, the latter measurement may represent a valuable marker to monitor the clinical response to therapy in HIV patients.
Relapse occurs frequently after treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients with the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation. The availability of immunologic biomarkers to predict patients at high risk could allow clinicians to accelerate alternative treatments such as stem cell transplantation, immunotherapy, or novel drugs. We have previously reported that first diagnostic (FD) ITD+ AML showed immunophenotypic and functional characteristics of arrested dendritic cell (DC) precursors. In this study, we show that the high frequency of precursor DCs in 16 FD ITD+ AML samples (Lin−/HLA-DR+/CD11c+/CD123+) was associated with a lack of terminal DCs (myeloid DCs: BDCA-1+ or BDCA-3+; plasmacytoid DC: BDCA-2+). We further evaluated prospectively the peripheral blood complete remission (CR) samples obtained from 11 ITD+ AML patients after chemotherapy regarding the frequency of DCs and their pattern of cytokine production. Whereas the aberrant frequencies of precursor and terminal plasmacytoid DCs resolved during remission, the myeloid DC compartment did not fully recover. For an available cohort of patients (n = 4) who could be monitored over a period of >15 months after FD, we identified IL-10, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β as cytokines produced by the CR samples at high levels a few months prior to relapse. Cell-free supernatant of an FD ITD+ AML sample stimulated monocytes obtained from two healthy donors to secrete IL-10, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β. Thus, we hypothesize that ITD+ AML minimal residual disease can act directly as dysfunctional antigen-presenting cells or indirectly by production of factors that convert monocytes into myeloid-derived suppressor cells secreting cytokines that promote immune evasion. Monitoring these immunologic biomarkers could improve prediction of relapse.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00277-013-1744-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Leukemia; Dendritic cell; Immune monitoring; Myeloid-derived suppressor cells; Risk of relapse; Inflammatory cytokines