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PLoS One. 2010 Feb 18;5(2):e9281. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009281.

CD8+ DC, but Not CD8(-)DC, isolated from BCG-infected mice reduces pathological reactions induced by mycobacterial challenge infection.

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  • 1Laboratory for Infection and Immunity, Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



Tuberculosis is a mycobacterial infection causing worldwide public health problems but the available vaccine is far from ideal. Type-1 T cell immunity has been shown to be critical for host defence against tuberculosis infection, but the role of dendritic cell (DC) subsets in pathogenesis of mycobacterial infection remains unclear.


We examined the effectiveness of dendritic cell (DC) subsets in BCG-infected mice in generating immune responses beneficial for pathogen clearance and reduction of pathological reactions in the tissues following challenge infection. Our data showed that only the adoptive transfer of the subset of CD8alpha+ DC isolated from infected mice (iCD8+ DC) generated significant protection, demonstrated by less mycobacterial growth and pathological changes in the lung and liver tissues in iCD8+ DC recipients than sham-treated control mice. The adoptive transfer of the CD8alpha(-)DC from the infected mice (iCD8(-) DC) not only failed to reduce bacterial growth, but enhanced inflammation characterized by diffuse heavy cellular infiltration. Notably, iCD8(-) DC produced significantly higher levels of IL-10 than iCD8+ DC and promoted more Th2 cytokine responses in in vitro DC-T cell co-culture and in vivo adoptive transfer experiments.


The data indicate that in vivo BCG-primed CD8+ DC is the dominant DC subset in inducing protective immunity especially for reducing pathological reactions in infected tissues. The finding has implications for the rational improvement of the prophylactic and therapeutic approaches for controlling tuberculosis infection and related diseases.

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