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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Experimental study of the mechanism of tolerance induction in dexamethasone-treated dendritic cells

Yu-bo Gong, Yi-fei Huang, Yan Li, Gen-cheng Han, Yu-rong Li, Da-jiang Wang, Gai-ping Du, Ji-feng Yu, Jing Song

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(5): BR125-131

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881758

Available online:

Published: 2011-04-24


Background:    The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying tolerance induction of dexamethasone (Dex)-treated dendritic cells (DCs).
    Material/Methods:    Well-grown DC2.4 cells were randomly assigned to receive control, 50 µg/L, 100 µg/L, or 200 µg/L of dexamethasone and then were cultured for 6 days. The expressions of CD80, CD86, galectin-9, and PD-L1 on the surface of DC2.4 cells were analyzed with flow cytometry and the level of IL-12 secreted by DC2.4 cells was determined by ELISA. The stimulating activity of DC2.4 cells on allogeneic T cells was assessed with mixed lymphocyte reaction. Dexamethasone-treated DC2.4 cells were co-cultured with allogeneic splenic lymphocytes and the Foxp3 expression in naive T lymphocytes was determined with flow cytometry.
    Results:    Compared with the control group, the expressions of CD80, CD86, galectin-9, and PD-L1 on the surface of DC2.4 cells exposed to different doses of dexamethasone showed no significant changes; however, dexamethasone treatment significantly reduced IL-12 secretion and inhibited DC2.4’s stimulation on the proliferation of allogeneic T lymphocytes. Moreover, dexamethasone-treated DC2.4 cells effectively promoted FOXP3 expression in naive T lymphocytes.
    Conclusions:    DC2.4 is a stable cell line with high expressions of CD80, CD86, and PD-L1. Dexamethasone does not significantly change the cell phenotype of DC2.4 cells, but inhibits the secretion of IL-12 cytokine and attenuates DC2.4’s stimulation of the proliferation of allogeneic T cells. Dexamethasone-treated DC2.4 cells also effectively promote FOXP3 expression in naive T lymphocytes.

Keywords: Interleukin-12 - metabolism, Immune Tolerance - drug effects, Galectins - metabolism, Forkhead Transcription Factors - metabolism, Dexamethasone - pharmacology, Dendritic Cells - immunology, Cell Shape - drug effects, Cell Proliferation - drug effects, Cell Line, Cell Adhesion - drug effects, Antigens, CD86 - metabolism, Antigens, CD80 - metabolism, Animals, Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed, Mice, Subcellular Fractions - metabolism, Time Factors