• dendritic cell maturation;
  • functionalization of polymers;
  • immunostimulation;
  • nanoparticles;
  • polystyrene (PS)


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Nanoparticles (NP) represent a promising tool for biomedical applications. Here, sulfonate- and phosphonate-functionalized polystyrene NP are analyzed for their interaction with human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DC). Immature dendritic cells (iDC) display a higher time- and dose-dependent uptake of functionalized polystyrene NP compared to mature dendritic cells (mDC). Notably, NP induce an enhanced maturation of iDC but not of mDC (upregulation of stimulatory molecules and cytokines). NP-triggered maturation results in a significantly enhanced T cell stimulatory capacity (increased CD4+ T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production), indicating a shift to a pronounced Th1 response. Immunomodulatory properties of NP may be a useful strategy for strengthening the efficacy of NP-based approaches in immunotherapy.