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Front Immunol. 2013 Apr 3;4:82. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00082. eCollection 2013.

Costimulatory molecules on immunogenic versus tolerogenic human dendritic cells.

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Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz Mainz, Germany.


Dendritic cells (DC) are sentinels of immunity, essential for homeostasis of T cell-dependent immune responses. Both functions of DC, initiation of antigen-specific T cell immunity and maintenance of tissue-specific tolerance originate from distinct stages of differentiation, immunogenic versus tolerogenic. Dependent on local micro milieu and inflammatory stimuli, tissue resident immature DC with functional plasticity differentiate into tolerogenic or immunogenic DC with stable phenotypes. They efficiently link innate and adaptive immunity and are ideally positioned to modify T cell-mediated immune responses. Since the T cell stimulatory properties of DC are significantly influenced by their expression of signal II ligands, it is critical to understand the impact of distinct costimulatory pathways on DC function. This review gives an overview of functional different human DC subsets with unique profiles of costimulatory molecules and outlines how different costimulatory pathways together with the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 bias immunogenic versus tolerogenic DC functions. Furthermore, we exemplarily describe protocols for the generation of two well-defined monocyte-derived DC subsets for their clinical use, immunogenic versus tolerogenic.


IL-10; costimulation; dendritic cells; immunity; inhibitory molecules; regulatory T cell; tolerance

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