Reference Database

IL-21-stimulated human plasmacytoid dendritic cells secrete granzyme B, which impairs their capacity to induce T-cell proliferation.
Karrich, Julien J
Jachimowski, Loes C M
Nagasawa, Maho
Kamp, Angela
Balzarolo, Melania
Wolkers, Monika C
Uittenbogaart, Christel H
Marieke van Ham, S
Blom, Bianca
Blood 2013 Apr 18;121: 3103-11

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a crucial role during innate immunity by secreting bulk amounts of type I interferons (IFNs) in response to Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated pathogen recognition. In addition, pDCs can also contribute to adaptive immunity by activation of antigen-specific T cells. Furthermore, it is well established that pDCs contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, including lupus. Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a cytokine produced by activated CD4(+) T and natural killer T (NKT) cells and has a pleiotropic role in immunity by controlling myeloid DC-, NKT-, T-, and B-cell functions. It has remained elusive whether IL-21 affects pDCs. Here we investigate the role of IL-21 in human pDC activation and function and observe that IL-21 activates signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in line with the finding that pDCs express the IL-21 receptor. Although IL-21 did not affect TLR-induced type I IFNs, IL-6, and TNF-α nor expression of major-histocompatibility-complex class II or costimulatory molecules, IL-21 markedly increased expression of the serine protease granzyme B (GrB). We demonstrate that GrB induction was, in part, responsible for IL-21-mediated downmodulation of CD4(+) T-cell proliferation induced by TLR preactivated pDCs. Collectively, our data provide evidence that pDCs are important cells to consider when investigating the role of IL-21 in immunity or pathogenesis.

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