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Blood. 2011 Mar 3;117(9):2625-39. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-06-292136. Epub 2010 Dec 10.

Hypoxia modulates the gene expression profile of immunoregulatory receptors in human mature dendritic cells: identification of TREM-1 as a novel hypoxic marker in vitro and in vivo.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, G. Gaslini Institute, Genova, Italy.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are a heterogeneous group of professional antigen-presenting cells functioning as sentinels of the immune system and playing a key role in the initiation and amplification of innate and adaptive immune responses. DC development and functions are acquired during a complex differentiation and maturation process influenced by several factors present in the local milieu. A common feature at pathologic sites is represented by hypoxia, a condition of low pO(2), which creates a unique microenvironment affecting cell phenotype and behavior. Little is known about the impact of hypoxia on the generation of mature DCs (mDCs). In this study, we identified by gene expression profiling a significant cluster of genes coding for immune-related cell surface receptors strongly up-regulated by hypoxia in monocyte-derived mDCs and characterized one of such receptors, TREM-1, as a new hypoxia-inducible gene in mDCs. TREM-1 associated with DAP12 in hypoxic mDCs, and its engagement elicited DAP12-linked signaling, resulting in ERK-1, Akt, and IκBα phosphorylation and proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine secretion. Finally, we provided the first evidence that TREM-1 is expressed on mDCs infiltrating the inflamed hypoxic joints of children affected by juvenile idiopathic arthritis, representing a new in vivo marker of hypoxic mDCs endowed with proinflammatory properties.

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