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Eur J Immunol. 2016 Nov;46(11):2659-2668. doi: 10.1002/eji.201646359. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells induce tolerance predominantly by cargoing antigen to lymph nodes.

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Institute of Immunology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
Institute of Immunology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) have been shown to induce tolerance to innocuous antigens. Their migratory properties allow them to take up antigens from the periphery and transport them to the draining lymph nodes or to the thymus. However, pDC-T-cell interaction in the primary and secondary lymphoid organs still remains poorly defined. In this study, we show that resting pDCs loaded with exogenous antigen could induce tolerance when transferred intralymphatically into a single lymph node of wild-type C57BL/6 mice. However, this was a result of antigen transfer from pDCs to endogenous antigen presenting cells and subsequent abortive proliferation of cognate CD4+ T cells. pDCs could not directly induce the proliferation of CD4+ T cells, as observed in mice lacking MHC class II gene. Moreover, pDCs failed to make physical contacts with OT-II cells as revealed by two-photon imaging. Thus, the role of resting pDCs in tolerance induction seems to be independent of its direct interaction with cognate CD4+ T cells.


Antigen presentation; Antigen transfer; Delayed-type hypersensitivity; Intralymphatic migration; Resting pDCs; Tolerance; Two-photon imaging

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