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Am J Pathol. 2004 Feb;164(2):511-9.

Interleukin-10 secretion differentiates dendritic cells from human liver and skin.

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Liver Research Laboratories, Medical Research Council Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Liver dendritic cells (DCs), which may orchestrate the liver's unique immunoregulatory functions, remain poorly characterized. We used a technique of overnight migration from pieces of normal human liver and skin to obtain tissue-derived DCs with minimal culture and no additional cytokine treatment. Liver and skin DCs had a monocyte-like morphology and a partially mature phenotype, expressing myeloid markers, MHCII, and co-stimulatory molecules; but only the skin DCs contained a population of CD1a+ cells. Overnight-migrated liver DCs activated naïve cord blood T cells efficiently. Liver DCs produced interleukin (IL)-10 whereas skin DCs failed to secrete IL-10 even after stimulation and neither skin nor liver-derived DCs secreted significant amounts of IL-12p70. Compared with skin DCs, liver DCs were less effective at stimulating T-cell proliferation and stimulated T cells to produce IL-10 and IL-4 whereas skin DCs were more potent stimulators of interferon-gamma and IL-4. Monocyte-derived DCs were down-regulated after culture with liver-conditioned media, suggesting that local microenvironmental factors may be important. Thus we show for the first time clear tissue-specific differences in nonlymphoid DCs. Although it is not possible to conclude from our data whether liver DCs are more regulatory, or skin DCs more proimmunogenic, the ability of liver DCs to secrete IL-10 may be important for regulating local immune responses within the liver in the face of constant exposure to gut antigens.

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