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Eur J Immunol. 2007 Feb;37(2):385-94.

Activation of dendritic cells by the Gal-lectin of Entamoeba histolytica drives Th1 responses in vitro and in vivo.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary Health Sciences Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Amebiasis is a human disease caused by the protozoan intestinal parasite Entamoeba histolytica. Vaccine development has focused on the parasite's surface galactose-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine inhibitable lectin (Gal-lectin) as a protective antigen. The Gal-lectin is immunogenic and has been shown to induce Th1 cytokines in vitro and in vivo. The immunological basis of the protective immune response elicited by the Gal-lectin is unknown. In this study, we investigated the response of BALB/c bone marrow-derived DC to E. histolytica Gal-lectin. Incubation of immature DC with Gal-lectin resulted in activation and maturation after 24 h. FACS analysis demonstrated an up-regulation of DC maturation markers CD80, CD86, CD40 and MHC class II upon exposure to Gal-lectin. The Gal-lectin also induced DC production of IL-12, indicating a Th1 response. Gal-lectin-activated DC were able to stimulate T cell proliferation in an allogeneic mixed leukocyte reaction and adoptive transfer of Gal-lectin-treated DC into naïve mice resulted in IFN-gamma-producing Gal-lectin-sensitized T cells. The activation of DC by Gal-lectin was mediated by MAPK and NF-kappaB. These findings indicate that E. histolytica Gal-lectin is a potent vaccine antigen capable of directly initiating DC maturation and activation characterized by Th1 cytokine production.

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