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Classical CD11c⁺ dendritic cells, not plasmacytoid dendritic cells, induce T cell responses to Plasmodium chabaudi malaria

Voisine, Cecile, Mastelic, Beatris, Sponaas, Anne-Marit, Langhorne, Jean
International journal for parasitology 2010 v.40 no.6 pp. 711-719
CD4-positive T-lymphocytes, Plasmodium chabaudi, Toll-like receptor 9, dendritic cells, disease control, erythrocytes, immune response, immunopathology, major histocompatibility complex, malaria, mice, parasites
Dendritic cells play an important role in the development of immune responses in malaria, but the contribution of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to CD4 T cell activation and immunopathology is unknown. We have investigated pDC in a Plasmodium chabaudi infection in mice. During infection, pDC increased in number and transiently up-regulated expression of Major Histocompatibility Complex class II and co-stimulatory molecules. However, in contrast to classical CD11chigh DC, pDC could not phagocytose parasites or process parasite proteins, to activate CD4 T cells. Activation of naïve pDC, but not CD11chigh DC, by infected red blood cells induced IFNα in vitro, which was dependent on the Toll-like receptor, TLR9. However, inactivation of TLR9 in knock-out mice had no effect on a P. chabaudi infection suggesting that TLR9 was not crucial for parasite elimination or pathology. Neither pDC nor IFNαβ were essential for parasite clearance as mice depleted of pDC or IFNαβ Receptor-knock-out mice could control infection. However, these mice lost significantly more weight than untreated or wild-type mice. We conclude that classical DC are the major antigen-presenting cells for CD4 T cells in this infection, but that pDC and IFNαβ may play minor roles in controlling the magnitude of acute stage pathology.