PloS one

Dendritic cell-secreted lipocalin2 induces CD8+ T-cell apoptosis, contributes to T-cell priming and leads to a TH1 phenotype.

PMID 25010215


Lipocalin 2 (LCN2), which is highly expressed by dendritic cells (DCs) when treated with dexamethasone (Dex) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), plays a key role in the defence against bacteria and is also involved in the autocrine apoptosis of T-cells. However, the function of LCN2 when secreted by DCs is unknown: this is a critical gap in our understanding of the regulation of innate and adaptive immune systems. Tolerance, stimulation and suppression are functions of DCs that facilitate the fine-tuning of the immune responses and which are possibly influenced by LCN2 secretion. We therefore examined the role of LCN2 in DC/T-cell interaction. WT or Lcn2-/- bone marrow-derived DCs were stimulated with LPS or LPS+IFN-γ with and without Dex and subsequently co-cultured with T-cells from ovalbumin-specific TCR transgenic (OT-I and OT-II) mice. We found that CD8+ T-cell apoptosis was highly reduced when Lcn2-/- DCs were compared with WT. An in vivo CTL assay, using LPS-treated DCs, showed diminished killing ability in mice that had received Lcn2-/- DCs compared with WT DCs. As a consequence, we analysed T-cell proliferation and found that LCN2 participates in T-cell-priming in a dose-dependent manner and promotes a TH1 microenvironment. DC-secreted LCN2, whose function has previously been unknown, may in fact have an important role in regulating the balance between TH1 and TH2. Our results yield insights into DC-secreted LCN2 activity, which could play a pivotal role in cellular immune therapy and in regulating immune responses.