Background: Dendritic cells (DC) are the most potent antigen-presenting cells in the immune system. To define the role of human DC in human anti-porcine immune responses, we defined the interaction of human DC with porcine aortic endothelial cells (PAEC).
Methods: To determine the immune responses, both monocyte-derived and peripheral blood DC were cultured with porcine and human endothelial cells. We analyzed the role of CD11a, CD11b, and CD54 in a cell-to-cell adhesion assay using antibodies against these molecules. The expression pattern of costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80, CD86), adhesion molecules (CD54), and intracellular cytokines (interleukin-12p70 and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha) in DC after interaction with endothelial cells was determined by immunofluorescence.
Results: Human DC significantly adhered to PAEC (38-40%), and this adhesion was augmented (>50%) upon treatment with either recombinant swine interferon-gamma or recombinant human TNF-alpha. Addition of human DC to PAEC was blocked by pretreatment of DC with antibodies specific to human leukocyte function-associated antigen-1 or CD54. Adhesion of DC to PAEC also resulted in the activation of DC, which was manifested by up-regulation of costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80, CD86), adhesion molecules (CD54), and HLA-DR. PAEC-activated human DC provided proliferative signals to the naïve autologous CD4+ T cells and synthesized interleukin-12p70 and TNF-alpha. However, activated DCs failed to lyse PAEC in such interaction.
Conclusion: Human DC effectively adhered to PAEC and were activated by xenoantigen, resulting in highly efficient antigen presentation and proliferation of CD4+ T cells. Further, this interaction of human DC to PAEC is regulated by the participation of costimulatory and adherence molecules and cytokines.