Phenotypic and functional differentiation of KG-1 into dendritic-like cells

Immunobiology. 2008;213(1):75-86. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2007.06.001. Epub 2007 Aug 1.


The cell line KG-1 has been used as an in vitro model for human dendritic cell (DC) differentiation. We have investigated the response of KG-1 cells to stimulation with a number of factors known to induce differentiation and/or maturation of DCs in vitro. KG-1 cells showed no differentiation in response to LPS, CpG oligodeoxynucleotide or CD40 ligation. Culture in the presence of TNF-alpha induced some differentiation, but only treatment with PMA and ionomycin (with or without prior culture in GM-CSF and IL-4) induced morphological and phenotypic changes consistent with DC-like maturation, and even these maximally differentiated KG-1 cells showed lower levels of surface marker expression, macromolecular endocytosis, and ability to stimulate in allogeneic MLR compared with in vitro monocyte-derived DCs. Our data show that KG-1 cells differentiate in vitro into cells with DC-like functional characteristics under the influence of strong inducers of cellular activation, but lack the potency of mature DCs in key aspects of professional antigen presenting cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD40 Ligand / immunology
  • CD40 Ligand / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • CpG Islands
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / immunology
  • Pinocytosis
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • CPG-oligonucleotide
  • Cytokines
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • CD40 Ligand
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate