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J Immunol. 2003 Oct 15;171(8):4320-8.

Toll-like receptor ligands modulate dendritic cells to augment cytomegalovirus- and HIV-1-specific T cell responses.

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Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-3022, USA.


Optimal Ag targeting and activation of APCs, especially dendritic cells (DCs), are important in vaccine development. In this study, we report the effects of different Toll-like receptor (TLR)-binding compounds to enhance immune responses induced by human APCs, including CD123(+) plasmacytoid DCs (PDCs), CD11c(+) myeloid DCs (MDCs), monocytes, and B cells. PDCs, which express TLR7 and TLR9, responded to imidazoquinolines (imiquimod and R-848) and to CpG oligodeoxynucleotides stimulation, resulting in enhancement in expression of costimulatory molecules and induction of IFN-alpha and IL-12p70. In contrast, MDCs, which express TLR3, TLR4, and TLR7, responded to poly(I:C), LPS, and imidazoquinolines with phenotypic maturation and high production of IL-12 p70 without producing detectable IFN-alpha. Optimally TLR ligand-stimulated PDCs or MDCs exposed to CMV or HIV-1 Ags enhanced autologous CMV- and HIV-1-specific memory T cell responses as measured by effector cytokine production compared with TLR ligand-activated monocytes and B cells or unstimulated PDCs and MDCs. Together, these data show that targeting specific DC subsets using TLR ligands can enhance their ability to activate virus-specific T cells, providing information for the rational design of TLR ligands as adjuvants for vaccines or immune modulating therapy.

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