Dendritic cells (DC) have been shown to be potent inducers of specific cytotoxic T-cell responses both in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, exposure to cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha or CD40 triggering changes DC phenotype and cytokine production and may enhance the T-cell activating capacity of the DC. We studied DC phenotype and cytokine production as well as the T-cell proliferation and cytotoxic T lympocyte (CTL) activation induced by DC generated in vitro. In addition, the effect of exposure to recombinant human CD40L-trimer (huCD40LT) on these parameters was investigated. Effective differentiation of monocytes derived from freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) was obtained with granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin (IL)-4. The DC expression of human leucocyte antigen (HLA) molecules, CD80, CD83, and CD86 was markedly enhanced by exposure to huCD40LT even compared to TNF-alpha exposure. Only a moderate cytokine production was observed initially, while TNF-alpha addition or CD40 triggering, especially, induced enhanced production of IL-6 and IL-12 p40. Surprisingly, comparable induction of T-cell proliferation by a DC allostimulus or through the presentation of PPD, and influenza M1-peptide specific CTL activity was obtained with nonmaturated (CD83-) and maturated (CD83+) DC. In conclusion, a final maturation of monocyte-derived DC through huCD40LT resulted in a highly homogeneous cell population with enhanced surface marker expression and high production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, the induction of responses to allo or recall antigens presented by huCD40LT maturated DC was comparable to the responses obtained with the DC maturated through TNF-alpha exposure.
Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, 2001, Vol 53, Issue 6, p. 579-87