Toll-like receptor ligand activation of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells

Immunology. 2009 Apr;126(4):475-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2008.02922.x. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are required for the initiation of primary immune responses. The pattern of Toll-like receptor (TLR) expression on various subsets of these cells has been shown to differ, suggestive of distinct roles in influencing immune responses. We have examined here the responses of immature DCs derived from murine bone marrow (BMDCs) to a range of TLR ligands. BMDCs cultured for 6 days in the presence of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor were stimulated for 24 hr with ligands to TLR1-2 [Pam(3)Cys-Ser-(Lys)(4) (PAM)], TLR2-6 (macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2); zymosan or peptidoglycan (PG)], TLR3 (polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid), TLR4 [lipopolysaccharide R515 (LPS)], TLR5 (flagellin), TLR7 (polyuridylic acid) and TLR9 [CpG ODN2395 (CpG)]. DC activation was monitored using membrane marker expression and analysis of culture supernatants for cytokine/chemokine release. Ligands to TLR3 and TLR7 failed to activate BMDCs. All other TLR ligands caused elevated expression of membrane markers. PAM, MALP-2 and LPS induced high-level expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Treatment with CpG was associated with a preferential type 1 cytokine and chemokine profile. Zymosan and PG were proinflammatory but also skewed towards a type 2 pattern of cytokines and chemokines. In contrast, flagellin did not cause marked secretion by BMDCs of cytokines or chemokines. These data for BMDCs are largely consistent with the reported TLR repertoire of freshly isolated murine Langerhans cells. In addition, murine BMDCs show selective responses to TLR ligands with respect to general activation, with differentiated cytokine patterns suggestive of potential priming for divergent immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Ligands
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Toll-Like Receptors