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J Immunol. 2004 Oct 15;173(8):4875-81.

Flt3-ligand, IL-4, GM-CSF, and adherence-mediated isolation of murine lung dendritic cells: assessment of isolation technique on phenotype and function.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


Lung dendritic cells (DCs) are difficult to study due to their limited quantities and the complexities required for isolation. Although many procedures have been used to overcome this challenge, the effects of isolation techniques on lung DCs have not been reported. The current study shows that freshly isolated DCs (CD11c+) have limited ability to induce proliferation in allogeneic T cells, and are immature as indicated by low cell surface expression of costimulatory molecules compared with liver or splenic DCs. DCs isolated after overnight culture or from mice treated with Flt3L are phenotypically mature and potent stimulators of allogeneic T cells. DCs could not be propagated from lung mononuclear cells in response to IL-4 and GM-CSF. Contrary to data reported for nonpulmonary DCs, expression of CCR6 was decreased on mature lung DCs, and only a subset of mature DCs expressed higher levels of CCR7. Absence of CD8alpha expression indicates that freshly isolated DCs are myeloid-type, whereas mature DCs induced by overnight culture are both "lymphoid" (CD8alpha+) and "myeloid" (CD8alpha-). DCs from mice genetically deficient in CD8alpha expression were strong simulators of allogeneic T cells which was consistent with data showing that CD8alpha- DCs from CD8alpha-sufficient mice are better APCs compared with CD8alpha+ DCs from the same mice. These data show that freshly isolated lung DCs are phenotypically and functionally distinct, and that the isolation technique alters the biology of these cells. Therefore, lung DC phenotype and function must be interpreted relative to the technique used for isolation.

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