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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Mar 1;11(5):1928-40.

Effects of imatinib on monocyte-derived dendritic cells are mediated by inhibition of nuclear factor-kappaB and Akt signaling pathways.

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Department of Hematology, Oncology, and Immunology, University of Tübingen, Otfried-Muller Strasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Dendritic cells are the most powerful antigen-presenting cells playing a decisive role for the initiation and maintenance of primary immune responses. However, signaling pathways involved in the differentiation of these cells have not been fully determined. Imatinib is a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor effective against Abl kinases, c-Kit, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor. Using this compound, we show that human monocyte-derived dendritic cells generated in the presence of therapeutic concentrations of imatinib show a reduced expression of CD1a, MHC class I and II, and costimulatory molecules as well as decreased secretion of chemokines and cytokines resulting in an impaired capacity of dendritic cells to elicit primary T-cell responses. Using Western blot analyses, we found that these effects are mediated by inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathways and a pronounced down-regulation of nuclear localized protein levels of nuclear factor-kappaB family members. Importantly, using blocking antibodies and tyrosine kinase inhibitors, we show that the inhibitory effects of imatinib on dendritic cell differentiation are not mediated via platelet-derived growth factor receptor and c-Kit. Taken together, our study reveals that imatinib inhibits dendritic cell differentiation and function via Akt and nuclear factor-kappaB signal transduction. Importantly, we show that imatinib can inhibit the function of normal, nonmalignant cells that may result in immunosuppression of these patients.

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