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Hum Immunol. 2007 Dec;68(12):959-64. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2007.10.011. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Proteinase inhibitor-9 expression is induced by maturation in dendritic cells via p38 MAP kinase.

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Laboratory of Experimental Oncology and Radiobiology, Center of Experimental Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Dendritic cells (DC) are crucial for the induction of CD8(+) T cell responses. However, as DC present antigen, they may also be at risk for being killed by recent activated CD8+ T cells. Previously we have shown that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- or CD40L-stimulated monocyte-derived DC express high levels of the granzyme B-inhibitory serpin proteinase inhibitor-9 (PI-9). Furthermore we found that its murine homolog serine protease inhibitor-6 (SPI-6) protected murine DC against cytotoxic T lymphocyte-induced apoptosis. These data suggest that PI-9/SPI-6 may regulate survival of DC when they are under attack by effector cells. We therefore analyzed how PI-9 is regulated upon stimulation with several Toll-like receptor ligands. We found that the expression of PI-9 correlated with maturation, as measured with CD86 levels, but not with the production of interleukin-12-p70. Using LPS as stimulus, we also showed that the induction of PI-9 is dependent on the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. The data suggest that PI-9 is tightly linked to maturation and may allow DC to exert their function in a potentially hostile environment.

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