• apolipoprotein E;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • immunomodulation;
  • peptides;
  • plasmacytoid dendritic cells


Tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs) play a critical role in the induction of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which in turn suppress effector T cell responses. We have previously shown the induction of DCs from human and mouse monocytic cell lines, mouse splenocytes and human peripheral blood monocytes by a novel apolipoprotein E (ApoE)-derived self-peptide termed Ep1.B. We also showed that this C-terminal region 239–252 peptide of ApoE has strong anti-atherogenic activity and reduces neointimal hyperplasia after vascular surgery in rats and wild-type as well as ApoE-deficient mice. In this study, we explored the phenotype of DC subset induced by Ep1.B from monocytic cell lines and from the bone marrow-derived cells. We found Ep1.B treatment induced cells that showed characteristics of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC). We explored in-vitro and in-vivo effects of Ep1.B-induced DCs on antigen-specific T cell responses. Upon in-vivo injection of these cells with antigen, the subsequent ex-vivo antigen-specific proliferation of lymph node cells and splenocytes from recipient mice was greatly reduced. Our results suggest that Ep1.B-induced pDCs promote the generation of Treg cells, and these cells contribute to the induction of peripheral tolerance in adaptive immunity and potentially contribute its anti-atherogenic activity.