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Nat Immunol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1253-60. doi: 10.1038/ni.1658. Epub 2008 Oct 5.

CCR9 expression defines tolerogenic plasmacytoid dendritic cells able to suppress acute graft-versus-host disease.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are 'professional' antigen-presenting cells that are key in the regulation of immune responses. Here we characterize a unique subset of tolerogenic DCs that expressed the chemokine receptor CCR9 and migrated to the CCR9 ligand CCL25, a chemokine linked to the homing of T cells and DCs to the gut. CCR9(+) DCs were of the plasmacytoid DC (pDC) lineage, had an immature phenotype and rapidly downregulated CCR9 in response to maturation-inducing pDC-restricted Toll-like receptor ligands. CCR9(+) pDCs were potent inducers of regulatory T cell function and suppressed antigen-specific immune responses both in vitro and in vivo, including inhibiting acute graft-versus-host disease induced by allogeneic CD4(+) donor T cells in irradiated recipients. Our results identify a highly immunosuppressive population of pDCs present in lymphoid tissues.

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