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Keywords:

  • Allergic airway inflammation;
  • Th2;
  • TSLP

Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) plays important roles in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. Whether and how TSLP is involved in the initial priming of T helper type-2 (Th2) differentiation against harmless antigen remains unclear. Using an intranasal sensitization protocol with OVA and LPS, we showed that TSLP signaling is required for low-dose LPS-induced Th2 inflammation, but not for high-dose LPS-induced Th1 immunity. We further demonstrated that low-dose LPS-activated bone marrow-derived dendritic cells expressed relatively high Tslp but low Il12a, and were able to prime naïve DO11.10 T cells to differentiate into Th2 cells in a TSLP-dependent manner. After transfer into wild-type recipient mice, the low-dose LPS-activated OVA-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) induced airway eosinophilia, but primed neutrophil-dominated airway inflammation when TSLP-deficient DCs were used. These studies demonstrate that TSLP released by DCs in response to a low concentration of LPS plays a role in priming Th2 differentiation and thus may serve as a polarizing third signal, in addition to antigen/MHC class II and co-stimulatory factors, from antigen-presenting DCs to direct effector T-cell differentiation.