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J Leukoc Biol. 1999 Aug;66(2):237-41.

Interleukin-18 synthesis and secretion by dendritic cells are modulated by interaction with antigen-specific T cells.

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Laboratory of Clinical Pathology, National Institute for Cancer Research, Genova, Italy.


We show that interleukin-18 is constitutively produced by dendritic cells; synthesis and secretion are poorly affected by maturative stimuli. Challenge of dendritic cells with autologous anti-tetanus toxoid T lymphocytes results in a secretory switch, with induction of secretion of biologically active interleukin-18 and decrease of its intracellular content. Similarly, when dendritic cells are challenged with allospecific T cells a dramatic decrease of intracellular interleukin-18 content occurs, whereas no effects are observed after co-culture with autologous activated T cells. The induction of secretion call be mediated by engagement of CD40 on dendritic cells, as indicated by the increased amount of interleukin-18 in dendritic cell supernatants after CD40 triggering by anti-CD40 antibodies. However, CD40 engagement, unlike from antigen-specific T cells, does not result in reduced intracellular interleukin-18 content, suggesting that this decrease may be mediated by structure(s) involved in antigen recognition.

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