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J Immunol. 2008 Jun 1;180(11):7394-403.

B lymphocyte stimulator regulates adaptive immune responses by directly promoting dendritic cell maturation.

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Department of Immunology, College of Medicine, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is a well-known direct costimulator of adaptive immune cells, particularly B lineage cells. However, we have reported recently that BLyS is also able to activate monocytes. Other innate immune cells, such as dendritic cells (DCs), play a key role in the initiation of adaptive immune responses and the purpose of the current study was to assess whether there is a direct role for BLyS in modulating human DC functions. In this study, we show that BLyS induces DC activation and maturation. Thus, BLyS strongly induced up-regulation of surface costimulatory molecule expression and secretion of specific cytokines and chemokines in DCs. BLyS-stimulated DCs (BLyS-DCs) were also able to augment allogeneic CD4 T cell proliferation to a greater extent than control DCs. BLyS-DCs secreted elevated levels of the major Th1-polarizing cytokine, IL-12p70, and they promoted naive CD4 T cell differentiation into Th1 T cells. Regarding BLyS receptor expression, DCs primarily express cytoplasmic transmembrane activator and CAML interactor; however, low levels of cell surface transmembrane activator and CAML interactor are expressed as well. Collectively, our data suggest that BLyS may modulate adaptive immune cells indirectly by inducing DC maturation.

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