Cell death via apoptosis is a normal physiological process. Rapid, but silent, removal of apoptotic cells (ACs) plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis in the immune system. Defective clearance of ACs allows ACs to accumulate and undergo late phase apoptosis, also known as secondary necrosis, which may generate danger signals, leading to inflammation or autoimmunity. In this study we investigate the outcome of dendritic cells (DCs), which are potent APCs, on the interaction with ACs of early or late phase. Immature DCs internalized ACs of both early and late phases with similar efficiency. However, DCs that had taken up ACs of early phase acquired a non-fully mature DC phenotype, expressing low MHC class II complex, costimulatory molecule CD40, and mature DC-restricted marker CD83, and had a low capacity to stimulate allogeneic CD4+ T cell proliferation, whereas DCs that had taken up ACs of late phase acquired a mature DC phenotype with enhanced T cell stimulatory capacity. Ingestion of either early or late ACs induced minimal production of IL-12 and modulated CC chemokine and CCR expression in DCs. In particular, there was down-regulation of CCR5 and up-regulation of CCR7, resulting in switches in responsiveness from inflammatory to lymphoid chemokines. We conclude from these data that after taking up ACs of either early or late phases, DCs acquire the capability of homing to draining lymph nodes, and the distinct maturation between DCs taking up early or late ACs may contribute to DC function in the induction of T cell tolerance or Ag-specific T cell response, respectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy