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Eur J Immunol. 2003 Apr;33(4):1052-62.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells prime IFN-gamma-secreting melanoma-specific CD8 lymphocytes and are found in primary melanoma lesions.

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Tumor Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, GB.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) are a small population of leukocytes specialized in the production of type I IFN. It has been shown that PDC have a potent T cell stimulatory capacity in allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction, However, their role in initiating primary immune responses remains elusive. We report that blood PDC efficiently prime naive CD8(+) lymphocytes specific for the melan-A(26-35) epitope to become IFN-gamma producing cells in vitro. In addition, we found that CD40L-stimulated PDC induce expression on primed melan-A-specific T cells of cutaneous lymphocyte antigen and L-selectin (CD62L), homing receptors that allow the migration of effector cells to the inflamed skin. Finally, we show that PDC can be found in the peri-tumoral area of most primary cutaneous melanomas in vivo and that type I IFN-containing supernatants derived from PDC increase melanoma cell surface expression of CD95 and MHC class I and class II molecules in vitro. Our results suggest a new immunomodulatory role for tissue infiltrating PDC, which may prime tumor-specific T cell responses and affect tumor growth via soluble factors.

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