IFN-alpha skews monocyte differentiation into Toll-like receptor 7-expressing dendritic cells with potent functional activities

Mohamad Mohty, Alexandra Vialle-Castellano, Jacques A Nunes, Daniel Isnardon, Daniel Olive, Béatrice Gaugler
Journal of Immunology 2003 October 1, 171 (7): 3385-93
IFN-alpha is an important cytokine for the generation of a protective T cell-mediated immune response to viruses. In this study, we asked whether IFN-alpha can regulate the functional properties of dendritic cells (DCs). We show that monocytes cultured in the presence of GM-CSF and IFN-alpha can differentiate into DCs (IFN-alpha-derived DCs (IFN-DCs)). When compared with DCs generated in the presence of GM-CSF and IL-4 (IL-4-derived DCs), IFN-DCs exhibited a typical DC morphology and expressed, in addition to DC markers CD1a and blood DC Ag 4, a similar level of costimulatory and class II MHC molecules, but a significantly higher level of MHC class I molecules. After maturation with CD40 ligand, IFN-DCs up-regulated costimulatory, class I and II MHC molecules and expressed mature DC markers such as CD83 and DC-lysosome-associated membrane protein. IFN-DCs were endowed with potent functional activities. IFN-DCs secreted large amounts of the inflammatory cytokines IL-6, IL-10, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-18, and promoted a Th1 response that was independent of IL-12p70 and IL-18, but substantially inhibited by IFN-alpha neutralization. Furthermore, immature IFN-DCs induced a potent autologous Ag-specific immune response, as evaluated by IFN-gamma secretion and expansion of CD8(+) T cells specific for CMV. Also, IFN-DCs expressed a large number of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), including acquisition of TLR7, which is classically found on the natural type I IFN-producing plasmacytoid DCs. Like plasmacytoid DCs, IFN-DCs could secrete IFN-alpha following viral stimulation or TLR7-specific stimulation. Taken together, these results illustrate the critical role of IFN-alpha at the early steps of immune response to pathogens or in autoimmune diseases.

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