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J Immunol. 2000 Jul 1;165(1):566-72.

Flt3-ligand and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor mobilize distinct human dendritic cell subsets in vivo.

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Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, Dallas, TX 75204, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) have a unique ability to stimulate naive T cells. Recent evidence suggests that distinct DC subsets direct different classes of immune responses in vitro and in vivo. In humans, the monocyte-derived CD11c+ DCs induce T cells to produce Th1 cytokines in vitro, whereas the CD11c- plasmacytoid T cell-derived DCs elicit the production of Th2 cytokines. In this paper we report that administration of either Flt3-ligand (FL) or G-CSF to healthy human volunteers dramatically increases distinct DC subsets, or DC precursors, in the blood. FL increases both the CD11c+ DC subset (48-fold) and the CD11c- IL-3R+ DC precursors (13-fold). In contrast, G-CSF only increases the CD11c- precursors (>7-fold). Freshly sorted CD11c+ but not CD11c- cells stimulate CD4+ T cells in an allogeneic MLR, whereas only the CD11c- cells can be induced to secrete high levels of IFN-alpha, in response to influenza virus. CD11c+ and CD11c- cells can mature in vitro with GM-CSF + TNF-alpha or with IL-3 + CD40 ligand, respectively. These two subsets up-regulate MHC class II costimulatory molecules as well as the DC maturation marker DC-lysosome-associated membrane protein, and they stimulate naive, allogeneic CD4+ T cells efficiently. These two DC subsets elicit distinct cytokine profiles in CD4+ T cells, with the CD11c- subset inducing higher levels of the Th2 cytokine IL-10. The differential mobilization of distinct DC subsets or DC precursors by in vivo administration of FL and G-CSF offers a novel strategy to manipulate immune responses in humans.

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