Kinetics of dendritic cell activation: impact on priming of TH1, TH2 and nonpolarized T cells

Nat Immunol. 2000 Oct;1(4):311-6. doi: 10.1038/79758.


To prime immune responses, dendritic cells (DCs) need to be activated to acquire T cell stimulatory capacity. Although some stimuli trigger interleukin 12 (IL-12) production that leads to T helper cell type I (TH1) polarization, others fail to do so and favor TH2 polarization. We show that after activation by lipopolysaccharide, DCs produced IL-12 only transiently and became refractory to further stimulation. The exhaustion of cytokine production impacted the T cell polarizing process. Soon after stimulation DCs primed strong TH1 responses, whereas at later time points the same cells preferentially primed TH2 and nonpolarized T cells. These findings indicate that during an immune response, T cell priming conditions may change in the lymph nodes, suggesting another mechanism for the regulation of effector and memory T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Polarity / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Interleukin-12 / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Interleukin-12