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J Immunol. 1998 Feb 1;160(3):1181-90.

Dual role of dendritic cells in the induction and down-regulation of antigen-specific cutaneous inflammation.

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INSERM Unite 80, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Faculté Lyon Laennec, France.


We have previously reported that contact sensitivity (CS) to dinitrofluorobenzene (DNFB) in C57BL/6 mice was mediated by MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cells and down-regulated by MHC class II-restricted CD4+ T cells. In this study, we analyzed the contribution of dendritic cells (DC) in the induction of these two T cell subsets endowed with opposite functions. Hapten-pulsed skin- and bone marrow-derived DC, obtained from either normal C57BL/6 mice or from MHC class II (I+ II-) and MHC class I (I- II+)-deficient mice, were tested for their ability to prime normal mice for CS to dinitrofluorobenzene. Expression of MHC class I molecules by transferred DC was mandatory both for the induction of CS and for the generation of hapten-specific CD8+ T cells in lymphoid organs. I+ II- DC were as potent as I+ II+ DC in priming for CS, demonstrating that activation of effector CD8+ T cells can occur independently of CD4+ T cell help. I- II+ DC could not immunize for CS, although they could sensitize for a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction to protein Ags. Moreover, I- II+ DC injected simultaneously with cutaneous sensitization down-regulated the inflammatory response, suggesting that hapten presentation by MHC class II molecules could prime regulatory CD4+ T cells. These results indicate that DC can present haptenated peptides by both MHC class I and class II molecules and activate Ag-specific CD8+ effector and CD4+ regulatory T cell subsets, concurrently and independently.

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