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Blood. 2001 Sep 1;98(5):1512-23.

Cytokine production by mouse myeloid dendritic cells in relation to differentiation and terminal maturation induced by lipopolysaccharide or CD40 ligation.

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  • 1Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, PA 15213, USA. morelli@imap.pitt.edu


Although it is known that dendritic cells (DCs) produce cytokines, there is little information about how cytokine synthesis is regulated during DC development. A range of cytokine mRNA/proteins was analyzed in immature (CD86-) or mature (CD86+) murine bone marrow (BM)- derived DCs. Highly purified, flow-sorted, immature DCs exhibited higher amounts of interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha), IL-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1), and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) mRNA/protein than mature DCs. After differentiation, DC up-regulated the levels of IL-6 and IL-15 mRNA/protein and synthesized de novo mRNA/protein for IL-12p35, IL-12p40, and IL-18. Although immature BM-derived DCs did not stimulate naive allogeneic T cells, mature DCs elicited a mixed population of T helper (Th) 1 (mainly) and Th2 cells in 3d-mixed leukocyte reactions. CD86+ BM DCs switched to different cytokine patterns according to whether they were terminally differentiated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or CD40 ligation. Although both stimuli increased IL-6, IL-12p40, IL-15, and TNF-alpha mRNA/protein levels, only LPS up-regulated transcription of IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-12p35, and MIF genes. Although LPS and CD40 cross-linking increased the T-cell allostimulatory function of BM DCs, only LPS stimulation shifted the balance of naive Th differentiation to Th1 cells, a mechanism dependent on the up-regulation of IL-12p35 and not of IL-23. These results demonstrate that, depending on the stimuli used to terminally mature BM DCs, DCs synthesize a different pattern of cytokines and exhibit distinct Th cell-driving potential.

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