Human plasmacytoid dendritic cells phagocytose, process, and present exogenous particulate antigen

J. Tel, A.J.A. Lambeck, L.J. Cruz, P.J. Tacken, I.J.M. de Vries, C.G. Figdor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a major role in shaping both innate and adaptive immune responses, mainly via their production of large amounts of type I IFNs. pDCs are considered to primarily present endogenous Ags and are thought not to participate in the uptake and presentation of Ags from the extracellular environment, in contrast to their myeloid counterparts, which efficiently endocytose extracellular particulates. In this study, we show that human pDCs are able to phagocytose and process particulate forms of Ag entrapped in poly(lactic-coglycolic acid) microparticles. Furthermore, pDCs were also able to sense TLR ligands (TLR-Ls) incorporated in these particles, resulting in rapid pDC activation and high IFN-alpha secretion. Combining a tetanus toxoid peptide and TLR-Ls (CpG C and R848) in these microparticles resulted in efficient pDC activation and concomitant Ag-specific T cell stimulation. Moreover, particulate Ag was phagocytosed and presented more efficiently than soluble Ag, indicating that microparticles can be exploited to facilitate efficient delivery of antigenic cargo and immunostimulatory molecules to pDCs. Together, our results show that in addition to their potency to stimulate innate immunity, pDCs can polarize adaptive immune responses against exogenous particulate Ag. These results may have important consequences for the development of new immunotherapeutic strategies exploiting Ag and TLR-Ls encapsulated in microparticles to target APC subsets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4276-83
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Capsules
  • Cattle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Glycolates
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Lactic Acid
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Phagocytosis
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • Journal Article


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