Plasmacytoid dendritic cells prime IFN-gamma-secreting melanoma-specific CD8 lymphocytes and are found in primary melanoma lesions

Eur J Immunol. 2003 Apr;33(4):1052-62. doi: 10.1002/eji.200323676.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) are a small population of leukocytes specialized in the production of type I IFN. It has been shown that PDC have a potent T cell stimulatory capacity in allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction, However, their role in initiating primary immune responses remains elusive. We report that blood PDC efficiently prime naive CD8(+) lymphocytes specific for the melan-A(26-35) epitope to become IFN-gamma producing cells in vitro. In addition, we found that CD40L-stimulated PDC induce expression on primed melan-A-specific T cells of cutaneous lymphocyte antigen and L-selectin (CD62L), homing receptors that allow the migration of effector cells to the inflamed skin. Finally, we show that PDC can be found in the peri-tumoral area of most primary cutaneous melanomas in vivo and that type I IFN-containing supernatants derived from PDC increase melanoma cell surface expression of CD95 and MHC class I and class II molecules in vitro. Our results suggest a new immunomodulatory role for tissue infiltrating PDC, which may prime tumor-specific T cell responses and affect tumor growth via soluble factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / classification
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating / immunology*
  • MART-1 Antigen
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / immunology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • fas Receptor / biosynthesis


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • CTAGE1 protein, human
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Interferon Type I
  • MART-1 Antigen
  • MLANA protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • fas Receptor
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma