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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2002 Nov;22(11):1071-80.

The natural alliance between type I interferon and dendritic cells and its role in linking innate and adaptive immunity.

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Laboratory of Virology, Instituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and thus play a pivotal role in induction of the immune response. Recent studies in both human and mouse models have shown that type I IFN, cytokines originally characterized for their antiviral activity and exerting multiple biologic effects, efficiently promote the differentiation and activation of DCs. These observations, together with the findings that DCs can express biologically relevant levels of type I interferon (IFN) and, in particular, that high amounts of these cytokines are released by specialized DC precursors (i.e., plasmacytoid DCs) in response to viral infections, strongly suggest the existence of a natural alliance between type I IFN and DCs, which is instrumental in ensuring an efficient immune response to both infectious agents and tumors. Further recent knowledge on the interactions between type I IFN and DCs emphasizes the importance of these cytokines in linking innate and adaptive immunity and may lead to new perspectives in their use as vaccine adjuvants as well as in strategies for the development of DC-based vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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