Dendritic cell subsets display different functional role in regulating immune response and lead to various outcomes including Th1 versus Th2 or regulatory versus immunologic response. Administration of Flt3-Ligand prevents and reverses allergic airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness in a mouse model. However, the underlying mechanisms are unclear.
We characterized and examined the role of lung dendritic cell subsets in the therapeutic effect of Flt3-Ligand.
Dendritic cells were isolated from the lungs of OVA-sensitized and challenged mice treated with rhFlt3-Ligand. Two populations of CD11c+ cells labeled with fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies were sorted. The ability of the purified cells to stimulate T cell proliferation and cytokine secretion pattern by different DC subsets was examined. Also, dendritic cells were adoptively transferred in mice to examine their effect on pulmonary function.
Two dendritic cell populations, CD11chighCD11blow and CD11clowCD11bhigh, were identified in the lungs of naïve and OVA-sensitized and challenged mice with and without treatment with Flt3-Ligand. The expression levels of CD8α, B220, CD19, F4/80, MHC II, CCR7, CD40, PDL1, PDL2, CD80, and CD86 were distinctly different between the two DC populations, which supports the notion that, CD11chighCD11blow and CD11clowCD11bhigh dendritic cells, potentially have regulatory and immunogenic properties, respectively. Administration of Flt3-Ligand increased the dendritic cells with regulatory potential in the lungs of antigen-sensitized mice, and CD11chighCD11blow dendritic cells acquired a maximum degree of regulatory capacity after Flt3-Ligand treatment.
These data suggest that Flt3-Ligand reverses airway hyperresponsiveness by regulating the function of lung dendritic cells in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation.
Flt3-Ligand could be a potential immunomodulator in the treatment of established asthma.