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J Leukoc Biol. 2003 Apr;73(4):493-501.

Fever-like thermal conditions regulate the activation of maturing dendritic cells.

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Département de Biologie des agents Transmissibles, Centre de Recherches du Service de Santé des Armées, La Tronche cedex, France.


Fever is one of the most frequent clinical signs encountered in pathology, especially with respect to infectious diseases. It is currently thought that the role of fever on immunity is limited to activation of innate immunity; however, its relevance to activation of adaptive immunity remains unclear. Dendritic cells (DCs) that behave as sentinels of the immune system provide an important bridge between innate and adaptive immunity. To highlight the role of fever on adaptive immunity, we exposed murine bone marrow-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- or live bacteria-maturing DCs over a 3-h period to 37 degrees C or to fever-like thermal conditions (39 degrees C or 40 degrees C). At these three temperatures, we measured the kinetics of cytokine production and the ability of DCs to induce an allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction. Our results show that short exposure of DCs to temperatures of 39 degrees C or 40 degrees C differentially increased the secretion of interleukin (IL)-12p70 and decreased the secretion of IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor alpha by maturing DCs. These fever-like conditions induced a regulation of cytokine production at the single-cell level. In addition, short-term exposed LPS-maturing DCs to 39 degrees C induced a stronger reaction with allogeneic CD4(+) T cells than maturing DCs incubated at 37 degrees C. These results provide evidence that temperature regulates cytokine secretion and DC functions, both of which are of particular importance in bacterial diseases.

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