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J Exp Med. 1994 Oct 1; 180(4): 1263–1272.
PMCID: PMC2191669

Activation of human dendritic cells through CD40 cross-linking


Dendritic cells, the professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) involved in T cell priming, express CD40, a molecule which triggering plays a key role in B cell growth and differentiation as well as monocyte activation. Herein we demonstrate that dendritic Langerhans cells (D-Lc) generated by culturing cord blood CD34+ progenitor cells with granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) express functional CD40 at a density higher than that found on B cells. Culturing D-Lc on CD40-ligand (CD40L) transfected L cells allowed D-Lc survival as 50 +/- 15% of seeded cells were recovered after 4 d while only 5% survived over control L cells. CD40 activation induced important morphological changes with a reduction of cytoplasmic content and a remarkable increase of dendrite development as well as an altered phenotype. In particular, CD40 triggering induced maintenance of high levels of major histocompatibility complex class II antigens and upregulation of accessory molecules such as CD58, CD80 (B7-1) and CD86 (B7-2). CD40 engagement also seems to turn on D-Lc maturation as illustrated by upregulation of CD25, a molecule usually expressed on interdigitating dendritic cells of secondary lymphoid organs. Finally, CD40 activated D- Lc secreted a limited set of cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-8, and macrophage inflammatory protein 1 alpha [MIP-1 alpha]) whereas a similar activation induced elutriated monocytes to secrete IL-1 alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-alpha, and MIP-1 alpha. As D-Lc activated T cells upregulated CD40L, it is likely that CD40 activation of D-Lc observed herein with a fibroblast cell line stably expressing CD40L, mimics physiological interactions between dendritic cells and T cells.

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