BCG stimulated dendritic cells induce an interleukin-10 producing T-cell population with no T helper 1 or T helper 2 bias in vitro

Immunology. 2007 Jun;121(2):276-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2007.02575.x. Epub 2007 Mar 20.


Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine has been associated with beneficial effects on overall childhood mortality in low-income countries; this cannot be explained merely by the prevention of tuberculosis (TB) deaths. The beneficial effects of BCG vaccine could be the result of either strengthening of pro-inflammatory mechanisms, helping neonates to fight infections, or the induction of an immune-regulatory network restricting overt inflammation and intense pathology. We aimed to study the effect of live BCG on the ability of dendritic cells (DCs) to polarize T-cell responses. Monocyte-derived DCs were matured in the presence or absence of BCG. The DC phenotype was assessed by CD83 expression, interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-10 production, as well as for the ability to polarize T-cell responses. Following stimulation with CD40 ligand, DCs matured in the presence of BCG showed enhanced IL-10 and diminished IL-12 production. These DCs primed naive T cells to develop into IL-10-producing T cells, with no T helper 1 or T helper 2 bias. These results suggest that BCG vaccination might result in the development of IL-10-producing DCs as well as IL-10-producing T cells that could contribute to restricting overt inflammation in infants exposed to pathogens and thus lead to lower infant mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • BCG Vaccine / immunology*
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Polarity / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Superantigens / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • BCG Vaccine
  • Superantigens
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12