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Clin Exp Immunol. 2004 Feb;135(2):209-18.

Qualitative and quantitative abnormalities in splenic dendritic cell populations in NOD mice.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


The phenotype and function of splenic DC populations from diabetes-prone NOD mice were characterized and compared to DC from diabetes-resistant strains in the presence or absence of Flt3 ligand (FL) treatment. NOD mice were found to have significantly fewer CD8alpha+ DC than both B10.BR and C57BL/6 mice, and this defect was reversed by FL treatment. Freshly isolated CD8alpha+ and CD8alpha- DC from all three strains were found to express similar levels of costimulatory molecules and this was similar in both FL-treated and untreated animals. IL-12 p40 production was significantly lower in purified CD11c+ DC from NOD mice compared to DC from C57BL/6 or B10.BR mice. CD8alpha+ DC isolated from NOD mice produced lower levels of IL-12p40 than CD8alpha+ DC from C57CBL/6 and this was dependent on the nature of the stimulus given. In contrast both CD8alpha+ and CD8alpha- DC from FL-treated mice produced high levels of IL-12p40 following activation, but only the CD8alpha- DC produced IL-12p70. Functionally, freshly isolated CD8alpha- DC were more stimulatory than CD8alpha+ DC in a primary allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction. However, DC maturation resulted in increased T cell stimulatory capacity for both DC subsets, and this pattern was seen in all strains. These results demonstrate significant differences in phenotype and function of splenic NOD CD8alpha+ DC, and further suggest that FL treatment may reverse some of these abnormalities.

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