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J Immunol. 2013 Sep 1;191(5):2247-57. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1203053. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Protein kinase C inhibitor generates stable human tolerogenic dendritic cells.

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Department of Bioregulatory Medicine, Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine, Toon, Ehime 791-0295, Japan.


Tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs) are a promising tool for a specific form of cellular therapy whereby immunological tolerance can be induced in the context of transplantation and autoimmunity. From libraries of bioactive lipids, nuclear receptor ligands, and kinase inhibitors, we screened conventional protein kinase C inhibitors (PKCIs) bisindolylmaleimide I, Gö6983, and Ro32-0432 with strong tolerogenic potential. PKCI-treated human DCs were generated by subjecting them to a maturation process after differentiation of immature DCs. The PKCI-treated DCs had a semimature phenotype, showing high production of IL-10, and efficiently induced IL-10-producing T cells and functional Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells from naive CD4(+) T cells, thus eliciting a strong immunosuppressive function. They also showed CCR7 expression and sufficient capacity for migration toward CCR7 ligands. Additionally, PKCI-treated DCs were highly stable when exposed to inflammatory stimuli such as proinflammatory cytokines or LPS. Conventional PKCIs inhibited NF-κB activation of both the canonical and noncanonical pathways of DC maturation, thus suppressing the expression of costimulatory molecules and IL-12 production. High production of IL-10 in PKCI-treated DCs was due to not only an increase of intracellular cAMP, but also a synergistic effect of increased cAMP and NF-κB inhibition. Moreover, PKCI-treated mouse DCs that had properties similar to PKCI-treated human DCs prevented graft-versus-host disease in a murine model of acute graft-versus-host disease. Conventional PKCI-treated DCs may be useful for tolerance-inducing therapy, as they satisfy the required functional characteristics for clinical-grade tolerogenic DCs.

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