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Novartis Found Symp. 2006;279:101-9; discussion 109-13, 216-9.

Linking innate to adaptive immunity through dendritic cells.

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The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


The function of dendritic cells (DCs) in linking innate to adaptive immunity is often summarized with two terms. DCs are sentinels, able to capture, process and present antigens and to migrate to lymphoid tissues to select rare, antigen-reactive T cell clones. DCs are also sensors, responding to a spectrum of environmental cues by extensive differentiation or maturation. The type of DC and the type of maturation induced by different stimuli influences the immunological outcome, such as the differentiation of Thl vs. Th2 T cells. Here we summarize the contributions of DCs to innate defences, particularly the production of immune enhancing cytokines and the activation of innate lymphocytes. Then we outline three innate features of DCs that influence peripheral tolerance and lead to adaptive immunity: a specialized endocytic system for antigen capture and processing, location and movements in vivo, and maturation in response to an array of stimuli. A new approach to the analysis of DC biology is to target antigens selectively to maturing DCs in vivo. This leads to stronger, more prolonged and broader (many immunogenic peptides) immunity by both T cells and B cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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