Resident lung antigen-presenting cells have the capacity to promote Th2 T cell differentiation in situ

J Clin Invest. 2002 Nov;110(10):1441-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI16109.


Antigen exposure via airway epithelia is often associated with a failure to prime or with the preferential priming of Th2 cells. We previously reported that the intranasal delivery of a Th1-inducing antigen promoted Th2-dominated responses, rather than the expected Th1 responses. Thus, we proposed that when pulmonary T cell priming is induced, the lung microenvironment might intrinsically favor the generation of Th2 types of responses. To establish a potential mechanism for such preferential priming, we examined the initial interactions between antigens and resident antigen-presenting cells (APCs) within the lung. We show that intranasally delivered antigens are preferentially taken up and can be presented to antigen-specific T cells by a resident population of CD11c(bright) APCs. Most of these antigen-loaded APCs remained within lung tissues, and migration into secondary lymphoid organs was not crucial for T cell priming to occur within the pulmonary tract. Furthermore, these pulmonary APCs demonstrated a marked expression of IL-6 and IL-10 within hours of antigen uptake, suggesting that resident tissue APCs have the capacity to promote Th2 T cell differentiation in situ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / administration & dosage
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Leishmania major / immunology
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / immunology*
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha / deficiency
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / cytology*
  • Th2 Cells / immunology*


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lymphotoxin-alpha
  • Interleukin-10