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Keywords:

  • CD70;
  • CD27;
  • costimulation;
  • cytokines;
  • dendritic cells;
  • T cells

Summary

Studies in mice have shown that CD70 on dendritic cells (DCs) is sufficient to convert T-cell tolerance into immunity and hence induce anti-tumour immune responses. Therefore, it is important to investigate (i) optimal stimuli to induce CD70 on human monocyte-derived DCs (MoDCs), which are widely used for tumour immunotherapy, and (ii) the role of CD70 in functional differentiation of naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells stimulated with MoDCs. We show that interferon-α (IFN-α) is a key cytokine to differentiate monocytes into DCs with the capacity to express CD70 upon maturation. CD70 expression on IFN-α-induced MoDCs was elicited by different categories of maturation-inducing factors (Toll-like receptor ligands, CD40 ligand and pro-inflammatory mediators), among which prostaglandin E2 was most effective. Naive T cells stimulated with MoDCs also expressed CD70. Stimulation with MoDCs promoted naive CD4+ T cells to acquire the ability to produce T helper type 1 and 2 cytokines in a CD70-dependent manner. In contrast, the CD70–CD27 interaction diminished the production of an immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. The CD27 signal did not play a dominant role in the induction of effector molecules in naive CD8+ T cells during the stimulation with MoDCs. This study adds a novel function to the versatile cytokines, type I IFNs, that is, the induction of CD70 on MoDCs. CD70 promotes naive CD4+ T cells to acquire immunostimulatory activity through the DC–T-cell and T-cell–T-cell interactions during the stimulation with MoDCs. Hence, the CD70–CD27 interaction may play an important role in inducing effective immune responses in DC-based immunotherapy.