Production of IL-12 and IL-18 in human dendritic cells upon infection by Listeria monocytogenes


*Corresponding author. Present address: Universitätsklinik für Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten, Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. Tel.: +49 (931) 20126710; Fax: +49 (931) 20126700, E-mail address:


Dendritic cells (DCs) are major antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, which need to be activated in order to initiate an immune response. Here, we describe the immunostimulatory effects on human monocyte-derived DCs observed upon infection with Listeria monocytogenes or after treatment with listerial lipoteichoic acid (LTA) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), respectively. All stimuli caused upregulation of costimulatory molecules, induced T-cell proliferative responses and secretion of cytokines in vitro. Infection of DCs with L. monocytogenes induced release of interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-18. In contrast treatment with purified listerial LTA yielded high levels of IL-18 release, but only minimal IL-12 production. Treatment of DCs with LPS conversely induced significant amounts of IL-12 production, but no IL-18. The release of both stimulating cytokines IL-12 and IL-18 upon infection with entire bacteria suggests that attenuated strains of L. monocytogenes may be a valuable tool for subunit vaccine delivery.