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Int Immunol. 2001 Dec;13(12):1571-81.

CD16+ and CD16- human blood monocyte subsets differentiate in vitro to dendritic cells with different abilities to stimulate CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biomedicine, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, CINVESTAV-IPN, Av. IPN 2508, Mexico City 07360, Mexico.


Experimental protocols for cancer immunotherapy include the utilization of autologous monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDC) pulsed with tumor antigens. However, disease can alter the characteristics of monocyte precursors and some patients have increased numbers (up to 40%) of the minor CD16(+) monocyte subpopulation, which in healthy individuals represent 10% of blood monocytes. At the present, the capacity of CD16(+) monocytes to differentiate into DC has not been evaluated. Here, we investigated the ability of CD16(+) monocytes cultured with granulocyte- macrophage colony-stimulating factor, IL-4 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha to generate DC in vitro, and we compared them to DC derived from regular CD16(-) monocytes. Both monocyte subsets gave rise to cells with DC characteristics. They internalized soluble and particulate antigens similarly, and both were able to stimulate T cell proliferation in autologous and allogeneic cultures. Nevertheless, CD16(+) moDC expressed higher levels of CD86, CD11a and CD11c, and showed lower expression of CD1a and CD32 compared to CD16(-) moDC. Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated CD16(-) moDC expressed increased levels of IL-12 p40 mRNA and secreted greater amounts of IL-12 p70 than CD16(+) moDC, whereas levels of transforming growth factor-beta1 mRNA were higher on CD16(+) moDC. Moreover, CD4(+) T cells stimulated with CD16(+) moDC secreted increased amounts of IL-4 compared to those stimulated by CD16(-) moDC. These data demonstrate that both moDC are not equivalent, suggesting either that they reach different stages of maturation during the culture or that the starting monocytes belong to cell lineages with distinct differentiation capabilities.

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