• Dendritic cells;
  • Listeria monocytogenes;
  • Infection;
  • Interleukin 12;
  • Interleukin 18;
  • Vaccine delivery


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.