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Immunology. 2013 Jun;139(2):219-26. doi: 10.1111/imm.12073.

Protease-activated receptor-2 signalling by tissue factor on dendritic cells suppresses antigen-specific CD4+ T-cell priming.

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MRC Centre for Transplantation, Innate Immunity Section, King's College London, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


The precise function of tissue factor (TF) expressed by dendritic cells (DC) is uncertain. As well as initiating thrombin generation it can signal through protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) when complexed with factor VIIa. We investigated the expression and function of TF on mouse bone marrow (BM) -derived DC; 20% of BM-derived DC expressed TF, which did not vary after incubation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or dexamethasone (DEX). However, the pro-coagulant activity of DEX-treated DC in recalcified plasma was 30-fold less than LPS-treated DC. In antigen-specific and allogeneic T-cell culture experiments, the TF on DEX-treated DC provided a signal through PAR-2, which contributed to the reduced ability of these cells to stimulate CD4(+) T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. In vivo, an inhibitory anti-TF antibody and a PAR-2 antagonist enhanced antigen-specific priming in two models where antigen was given without adjuvant, with an effect approximately 50% that seen with LPS, suggesting that a similar mechanism was operational physiologically. These data suggest a novel TF and PAR-2-dependent mechanism on DEX-DC in vitro and unprimed DC in vivo that contributes to the low immunogenicity of these cells. Targeting this pathway has the potential to influence antigen-specific CD4(+) T-cell activation.

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