Dendritic cells (DC) are professional antigen-presenting cells that are capable of both activating immune responses and inducing tolerance. Several studies have revealed efficiency of therapeutic vaccination with tolerogenic DC (tolDC) in inhibition of experimental autoimmunity. The purpose of this study was to compare four different protocols for generation of tolDC - the antidiabetic drug troglitazone (TGZ DC), NF-κB inhibitor BAY 11-7082 (BAY DC), prostaglandin D2 metabolite 15d-PGJ2 (PGJ DC) and a combination of dexamethasone and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (DexVD3 DC) regarding phenotype, cytokine production and T cell stimulatory capacity. TGZ DC and BAY DC had a phenotype comparable to immature DC, while DexVD3 DC were more macrophage like. Analysis of cytokine production using cell culture supernatants from all DC populations revealed that DexVD3 DC were efficient producers of IL-10 and produced less pro-inflammatory cytokines. T cells primed with DexVD3 DC showed reduced proliferation, and further analyses of these T cells revealed that functionally effective type 1 regulatory T cells (Tr1) but not FoxP3(+) Treg were induced. Furthermore, DexVD3 DC promoted the induction of regulatory B cells (Breg). Together, these results indicate that DexVD3 DC have the best potential to be used in a tolerogenic antigen-presenting cell-based immunotherapy setting.
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