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Blood. 2002 Aug 1;100(3):1084-7.

Rapamycin inhibits macropinocytosis and mannose receptor-mediated endocytosis by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells.

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Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) that use 2 major pathways for antigen uptake: constitutive macropinocytosis and mannose receptor-mediated endocytosis. Efficient endocytosis is critical for DCs to fulfill their sentinel function in immunity. We investigated the influence of the immunosuppressive macrolide rapamycin on macropinocytosis of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-albumin and mannose receptor-mediated endocytosis of FITC-dextran by murine bone marrow-derived DCs by flow cytometry. The data show that (1) at a low, physiologically relevant concentration (1 ng/mL), rapamycin impairs macropinocytosis and mannose receptor-mediated endocytosis; (2) the effects are independent of DC maturation and can be demonstrated specifically in immature CD11c(+) major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II(lo) DCs by 3-color flow cytometry; (3) inhibition of endocytosis is not related to apoptotic cell death; and (4) molar excess of the structurally related molecule FK506 inhibits the actions of rapamycin. The inhibitory effects of rapamycin on DC endocytosis were confirmed in vivo. To our knowledge, this is the first report that a clinically relevant immunosuppressant inhibits DC endocytosis.

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