Dendritic cells: a conductor of T cell differentiation

Allergol Int. 2007 Sep;56(3):193-9. doi: 10.2332/allergolint.R-07-146. Epub 2007 Aug 1.


Induction of different types of adaptive immune responses depending on the nature of antigens and the environmental context is crucial to cope with a variety of pathogens and concurrently to avoid pathological reaction to self antigens. Recent studies have been elucidating that the diversity of immune responses is critically controlled by dendritic cells (DCs). Two DC subsets have been identified in humans: myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs. The DC subsets induce different types of adaptive immune responses depending on environmental factors. Interleukin (IL)-12 from myeloid DCs is a dominant factor for the induction of a Th1 response, whereas OX40 ligand on myeloid DCs is important for the induction of a Th2 response. Furthermore, inducible costimulator (ICOS) ligand on plasmacytoid DCs is critical for the induction of IL-10-producing regulatory T cells. Elucidating cellular and molecular mechanisms by which functions of the two DC subsets are modulated will lead to understanding the pathogenesis of various immune-related diseases and to developing novel immunological therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Humans
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*