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Immunobiology. 2006;211(6-8):599-608. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Targeting antigens to dendritic cells in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Tumor Immunology, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Dendritic cells (DCs) play a key role in antigen-specific immune regulation. DCs take up and process antigens and present these as peptides through MHC molecules to T cells. Recent pre-clinical and clinical studies have exploited DCs as a means to improve vaccine efficiency. In these studies, monocyte-derived autologous DCs are loaded ex vivo with antigens and re-administered to the patient. These tailor-made vaccines are costly and labor intensive, and therefore less suitable for large-scale immunization programs. As a next step in the development of DC vaccines, it is proposed to load DCs with antigens in vivo. Drug delivery systems harboring antigens have been targeted to DCs via specific surface receptors preferentially expressed by DCs, resulting in priming of humoral and cellular immune responses. The present review focuses on the various antigen delivery systems that are currently in use and the DC surface receptors they target.

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