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Int Immunol. 2011 May;23(5):317-26. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxr007. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Mouse neutrophils are professional antigen-presenting cells programmed to instruct Th1 and Th17 T-cell differentiation.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Neutrophils play a major role in the innate immune system and are normally considered to be short-lived effector cells that exert anti-microbial activity and sometimes immunopathology. Here, we show that these cells possess an additional function as professional antigen-presenting cells capable of priming a T(h)1- and T(h)17-acquired immune response. Using flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and western blotting, we show that mouse neutrophils express MHC class II and co-stimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 after T-cell co-incubation. Neutrophils pulsed with ovalbumin (OVA) process and present peptide antigen to OVA-specific T cells in an MHC class II-dependent manner. Importantly, we demonstrate that neutrophils can prime antigen-specific T(h)1 and T(h)17 immune responses even without the addition of exogenous cytokines to cell cultures.

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