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1.  Increased Presence of FOXP3+ Regulatory T Cells in Inflamed Muscle of Patients with Active Juvenile Dermatomyositis Compared to Peripheral Blood 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105353.
Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease affecting the microvasculature of skin and muscle. CD4+CD25+FOXP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are key regulators of immune homeostasis. A role for Tregs in JDM pathogenesis has not yet been established. Here, we explored Treg presence and function in peripheral blood and muscle of JDM patients. We analyzed number, phenotype and function of Tregs in blood from JDM patients by flow cytometry and in vitro suppression assays, in comparison to healthy controls and disease controls (Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy). Presence of Tregs in muscle was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. Overall, Treg percentages in peripheral blood of JDM patients were similar compared to both control groups. Muscle biopsies of new onset JDM patients showed increased infiltration of numbers of T cells compared to Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. Both in JDM and Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy the proportion of FOXP3+ T cells in muscles were increased compared to JDM peripheral blood. Interestingly, JDM is not a self-remitting disease, suggesting that the high proportion of Tregs in inflamed muscle do not suppress inflammation. In line with this, peripheral blood Tregs of active JDM patients were less capable of suppressing effector T cell activation in vitro, compared to Tregs of JDM in clinical remission. These data show a functional impairment of Tregs in a proportion of patients with active disease, and suggest a regulatory role for Tregs in JDM inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4144849  PMID: 25157414
2.  Allergic sensitization: host-immune factors 
Allergic sensitization is the outcome of a complex interplay between the allergen and the host in a given environmental context. The first barrier encountered by an allergen on its way to sensitization is the mucosal epithelial layer. Allergic inflammatory diseases are accompanied by increased permeability of the epithelium, which is more susceptible to environmental triggers. Allergens and co-factors from the environment interact with innate immune receptors, such as Toll-like and protease-activated receptors on epithelial cells, stimulating them to produce cytokines that drive T-helper 2-like adaptive immunity in allergy-prone individuals. In this milieu, the next cells interacting with allergens are the dendritic cells lying just underneath the epithelium: plasmacytoid DCs, two types of conventional DCs (CD11b + and CD11b-), and monocyte-derived DCs. It is now becoming clear that CD11b+, cDCs, and moDCs are the inflammatory DCs that instruct naïve T cells to become Th2 cells. The simple paradigm of non-overlapping stable Th1 and Th2 subsets of T-helper cells is now rapidly being replaced by that of a more complex spectrum of different Th cells that together drive or control different aspects of allergic inflammation and display more plasticity in their cytokine profiles. At present, these include Th9, Th17, Th22, and Treg, in addition to Th1 and Th2. The spectrum of co-stimulatory signals coming from DCs determines which subset-characteristics will dominate. When IL-4 and/or IL-13 play a dominant role, B cells switch to IgE-production, a process that is more effective at young age. IgE-producing plasma cells have been shown to be long-lived, hiding in the bone-marrow or inflammatory tissues where they cannot easily be targeted by therapeutic intervention. Allergic sensitization is a complex interplay between the allergen in its environmental context and the tendency of the host’s innate and adaptive immune cells to be skewed towards allergic inflammation. These data and findings were presented at a 2012 international symposium in Prague organized by the Protein Allergenicity Technical Committee of the International Life Sciences Institute’s Health and Environmental Sciences Institute.
PMCID: PMC3989850  PMID: 24735802
Allergic sensitization; Protein; Allergic inflammation; Food allergy; Endogenous allergen
3.  Dendritic Cell Therapy in an Allogeneic-Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Setting: An Effective Strategy toward Better Disease Control? 
Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a last treatment resort and only potentially curative treatment option for several hematological malignancies resistant to chemotherapy. The induction of profound immune regulation after allogeneic HCT is imperative to prevent graft-versus-host reactions and, at the same time, allow protective immune responses against pathogens and against tumor cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) are highly specialized antigen-presenting cells that are essential in regulating this balance and are of major interest as a tool to modulate immune responses in the complex and challenging phase of immune reconstitution early after allo-HCT. This review focuses on the use of DC vaccination to prevent cancer relapses early after allo-HCT. It describes the role of host and donor-DCs, various vaccination strategies, different DC subsets, antigen loading, DC maturation/activation, and injection sites and dose. At last, clinical trials using DC vaccination post-allo-HCT and the future perspectives of DC vaccination in combination with other cancer immunotherapies are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4032952  PMID: 24904573
DC-vaccination; hematopoietic cell transplantation; disease control; relapse; T-cell responses
5.  Local IL-17A Potentiates Early Neutrophil Recruitment to the Respiratory Tract during Severe RSV Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78461.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis triggers a strong innate immune response characterized by excessive neutrophil infiltration which contributes to RSV induced pathology. The cytokine IL-17A enhances neutrophil infiltration into virus infected lungs. IL-17A is however best known as an effector of adaptive immune responses. The role of IL-17A in early immune modulation in RSV infection is unknown. We aimed to elucidate whether local IL-17A facilitates the innate neutrophil infiltration into RSV infected lungs prior to adaptive immunity. To this end, we studied IL-17A production in newborns that were hospitalized for severe RSV bronchiolitis. In tracheal aspirates we measured IL-17A concentration and neutrophil counts. We utilized cultured human epithelial cells to test if IL-17A regulates RSV infection-induced IL-8 release as mediator of neutrophil recruitment. In mice we investigated the cell types that are responsible for early innate IL-17A production during RSV infection. Using IL-17A neutralizing antibodies we tested if IL-17A is responsible for innate neutrophil infiltration in mice. Our data show that increased IL-17A production in newborn RSV patient lungs correlates with subsequent neutrophil counts recruited to the lungs. IL-17A potentiates RSV-induced production of the neutrophil-attracting chemokine IL-8 by airway epithelial cells in vitro. Various lung-resident lymphocytes produced IL-17A during early RSV infection in Balb/c mice, of which a local population of CD4 T cells stood out as the predominant RSV-induced cell type. By removing IL-17A during early RSV infection in mice we showed that IL-17A is responsible for enhanced innate neutrophil infiltration in vivo. Using patient material, in vitro studies, and an animal model of RSV infection, we thus show that early local IL-17A production in the airways during RSV bronchiolitis facilitates neutrophil recruitment with pathologic consequences to infant lungs.
PMCID: PMC3806820  PMID: 24194936
6.  The Mucosal Adjuvant Cholera Toxin B Instructs Non-Mucosal Dendritic Cells to Promote IgA Production Via Retinoic Acid and TGF-β 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59822.
It is currently unknown how mucosal adjuvants cause induction of secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), and how T cell-dependent (TD) or -independent (TI) pathways might be involved. Mucosal dendritic cells (DCs) are the primary antigen presenting cells driving TI IgA synthesis, by producing a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL), B cell activating factor (BAFF), Retinoic Acid (RA), TGF-β or nitric oxide (NO). We hypothesized that the mucosal adjuvant Cholera Toxin subunit B (CTB) could imprint non-mucosal DCs to induce IgA synthesis, and studied the mechanism of its induction. In vitro, CTB-treated bone marrow derived DCs primed for IgA production by B cells without the help of T cells, yet required co-signaling by different Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands acting via the MyD88 pathway. CTB-DC induced IgA production was blocked in vitro or in vivo when RA receptor antagonist, TGF-β signaling inhibitor or neutralizing anti-TGF-β was added, demonstrating the involvement of RA and TGF-β in promoting IgA responses. There was no major involvement for BAFF, APRIL or NO. This study highlights that synergism between CTB and MyD88-dependent TLR signals selectively imprints a TI IgA-inducing capacity in non-mucosal DCs, explaining how CTB acts as an IgA promoting adjuvant.
PMCID: PMC3603891  PMID: 23527272
7.  Expression of XCR1 Characterizes the Batf3-Dependent Lineage of Dendritic Cells Capable of Antigen Cross-Presentation 
Cross-presentation of antigen by dendritic cells (DCs) to CD8+ T cells is a fundamentally important mechanism in the defense against pathogens and tumors. Due to the lack of an appropriate lineage marker, cross-presenting DCs in the mouse are provisionally classified as “Batf3-IRF-8-Id2-dependent DCs” or as “CD8+ DCs” in the spleen, and as “CD103+CD11b− DCs” in the periphery. We have now generated a mAb to XCR1, a chemokine receptor which is specifically expressed on CD8+ DCs and a subpopulation of double negative DCs in the spleen. Using this antibody, we have determined that only XCR1+CD8+ (around 80% of CD8+ DCs) and their probable precursors, XCR1+CD8− DCs, efficiently take up cellular material and excel in antigen cross-presentation. In lymph nodes (LNs) and peripheral tissues, XCR1+ DCs largely, but not fully, correspond to CD103+CD11b− DCs. Most importantly, we demonstrate that XCR1+ DCs in the spleen, LNs, and peripheral tissues are dependent on the growth factor Flt3 ligand and are selectively absent in Batf3-deficient animals. These results provide evidence that expression of XCR1 throughout the body defines the Batf3-dependent lineage of DCs with a special capacity to cross-present antigen. XCR1 thus emerges as the first surface marker characterizing a DC lineage in the mouse and potentially also in the human.
PMCID: PMC3399095  PMID: 22826713
dendritic cells; XCR1; Batf3; cross-presentation; lineage marker
10.  Inflammatory dendritic cells—not basophils—are necessary and sufficient for induction of Th2 immunity to inhaled house dust mite allergen 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(10):2097-2111.
It is unclear how Th2 immunity is induced in response to allergens like house dust mite (HDM). Here, we show that HDM inhalation leads to the TLR4/MyD88-dependent recruitment of IL-4 competent basophils and eosinophils, and of inflammatory DCs to the draining mediastinal nodes. Depletion of basophils only partially reduced Th2 immunity, and depletion of eosinophils had no effect on the Th2 response. Basophils did not take up inhaled antigen, present it to T cells, or express antigen presentation machinery, whereas a population of FceRI+ DCs readily did. Inflammatory DCs were necessary and sufficient for induction of Th2 immunity and features of asthma, whereas basophils were not required. We favor a model whereby DCs initiate and basophils amplify Th2 immunity to HDM allergen.
PMCID: PMC2947072  PMID: 20819925

Results 1-10 (10)