We report herein heterogeneous murine thymic cell subsets expressing CD11c and B220 (CD45R). The CD11c+B220+ subset expresses Ly6Chigh and MHC class IIlow in contrast with previously described thymic DC (CD11c+B220- cells). Freshly isolated thymic CD11c+B220+ cells show typical plasmacytoid morphology which differentiates to mature DC, in vitro with CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) 2216; we term this subset thymic plasmacytoid DC (pDC). These thymic pDC are highly sensitive to spontaneous apoptosis in vitro and induce low T cell allo-proliferation activity. Thymic pDC express low TLR2, TLR3 and TLR4 mRNA, normally found on human immature DC, and high TLR7 and TLR9 mRNA, normally found on human pDC. Thymic pDC also produce high amounts of IFN-α following culture with CpG ODN 2216 (TLR9 ligands) as compared with the previously defined thymic DC lineage which expresses low TLR9 mRNA and produce high IL-12 (p40) with CpG ODN 2216. These results indicate that thymic pDC are similar to IFN-producing cells as well as human pDC. The TLR and cytokine production profiles are consistent with a nomenclature of pDC. The repertoire of this cell lineage to TLR9 ligands demonstrate that such responses are determined not only by the quantity of expression, but also cell lineage.
- Thymic plasmacytoid dendritic cell
- Toll-like receptor
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