A subset of human monocyte-derived dendritic cells expresses high levels of interleukin-12 in response to combined CD40 ligand and interferon-gamma treatment.
Dendritic cells (DCs) may arise from multiple lineages and progress through a series of intermediate stages until fully mature, at which time they are capable of optimal antigen presentation and T-cell activation. High cell surface expression of CD83 is presumed to correlate with full maturation of DCs, and a number of agents have been shown to increase CD83 expression on DCs. We hypothesized that interleukin 12 (IL-12) expression would be a more accurate marker of functionally mature DCs capable of activating antigen-specific T cells. We used combinations of signaling through CD40, using CD40 ligand trimer (CD40L), and interferon gamma to demonstrate that CD83 expression is necessary but not sufficient for optimal production of IL-12 by DCs. Phenotypically mature DCs could be induced to produce high levels of IL-12 p70 only when provided 2 simultaneous stimulatory signals. By intracellular cytokine detection, we determined that only a subset of cells that express high levels of CD80 and CD83 generate large amounts of IL-12. DCs matured with both signals are superior to DCs stimulated with the individual agents in activating antigen-specific T cell in vitro. These findings have important implications regarding the identification, characterization, and clinical application of functionally mature DCs.
Mosca, PJ; Hobeika, AC; Clay, TM; Nair, SK; Thomas, EK; Morse, MA; Lyerly, HK
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