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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 21;114(8):1988-1993. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1610630114. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

A distinct subset of plasmacytoid dendritic cells induces activation and differentiation of B and T lymphocytes.

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Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94304.
Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Research, La Jolla, CA 92037.
Soulage Medical Clinic, Inage-Ku Chiba-City, Chiba, 263-0005, Japan.
Stanford Blood Center, Stanford Hospital, Stanford, CA 94304.
Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94304;


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are known mainly for their secretion of type I IFN upon viral encounter. We describe a CD2hiCD5+CD81+ pDC subset, distinguished by prominent dendrites and a mature phenotype, in human blood, bone marrow, and tonsil, which can be generated from CD34+ progenitors. These CD2hiCD5+CD81+ cells express classical pDC markers, as well as the toll-like receptors that enable conventional pDCs to respond to viral infection. However, their gene expression profile is distinct, and they produce little or no type I IFN upon stimulation with CpG oligonucleotides, likely due to their diminished expression of IFN regulatory factor 7. A similar population of CD5+CD81+ pDCs is present in mice and also does not produce type I IFN after CpG stimulation. In contrast to conventional CD5-CD81- pDCs, human CD5+CD81+ pDCs are potent stimulators of B-cell activation and antibody production and strong inducers of T-cell proliferation and Treg formation. These findings reveal the presence of a discrete pDC population that does not produce type I IFN and yet mediates important immune functions previously attributed to all pDCs.


CD2; CD5; CD81; plasmacytoid dendritic cells; type I IFN

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