American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

DAP12 deficiency in liver allografts results in enhanced donor DC migration, augmented effector T cell responses and abrogation of transplant tolerance.

PMID 24935196


Liver interstitial dendritic cells (DC) have been implicated in immune regulation and tolerance induction. We found that the transmembrane immuno-adaptor DNAX-activating protein of 12 kDa (DAP12) negatively regulated conventional liver myeloid (m) DC maturation and their in vivo migratory and T cell allostimulatory ability. Livers were transplanted from C57BL/6(H2(b) ) (B6) WT or DAP12(-/-) mice into WT C3H (H2(k) ) recipients. Donor mDC (H2-K(b+) CD11c(+) ) were quantified in spleens by flow cytometry. Anti-donor T cell reactivity was evaluated by ex vivo carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester-mixed leukocyte reaction and delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, while T effector and regulatory T cells were determined by flow analysis. A threefold to fourfold increase in donor-derived DC was detected in spleens of DAP12(-/-) liver recipients compared with those given WT grafts. Moreover, pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the graft, interferon gamma (IFNγ) production by graft-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells and systemic levels of IFNγ were all elevated significantly in DAP12(-/-) liver recipients. DAP12(-/-) grafts also exhibited reduced incidences of CD4(+) Foxp3(+) cells and enhanced CD8(+) T cell IFNγ secretion in response to donor antigen challenge. Unlike WT grafts, DAP12(-/-) livers failed to induce tolerance and were rejected acutely. Thus, DAP12 expression in liver grafts regulates donor mDC migration to host lymphoid tissue, alloreactive T cell responses and transplant tolerance.