Human plasmacytoid dendritic cells are equipped with antigen-presenting and tumoricidal capacities

J. Tel, E.L.J. Smits, S. Anguille, R.N. Joshi, C.G. Figdor, I.J.M. de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Human plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) represent a highly specialized naturally occurring dendritic-cell subset and are the main producers of type I interferons (IFNs) in response to viral infections. We show that human pDCs activated by the preventive vaccine FSME specifically up-regulate CD56 on their surface, a marker that was thought to be specific for NK cells and associated with cytolytic effector functions. We observed that FSME-activated pDCs specifically lysed NK target cells and expressed cytotoxic molecules, such as tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and granzyme B. Elevated levels of these molecules coincided with the expression of CD56, indicative for skewing human pDCs toward an interferon-producing killer DC subset. Detailed phenotypical and functional analysis revealed that pDCs attained a mature phenotype, secreted proinflammatory cytokines, and had the capacity to present antigens and stimulate T cells. Here, we report on the generation of CD56(+) human interferon producing killer pDCs with the capacity to present antigens. These findings aid in deciphering the role for pDCs in antitumor immunity and present a promising prospect of developing antitumor therapy using pDCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3936-44
Number of pages9
JournalBlood : the Journal of Hematology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigens, CD274
  • Antigens, CD56
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Granzymes
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Neoplasms
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Vaccines
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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