The precise function of tissue factor (TF) expressed by dendritic cells (DC) is uncertain. As well as initiating thrombin generation it can signal through protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) when complexed with factor VIIa. We investigated the expression and function of TF on mouse bone marrow (BM) -derived DC; 20% of BM-derived DC expressed TF, which did not vary after incubation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or dexamethasone (DEX). However, the pro-coagulant activity of DEX-treated DC in recalcified plasma was 30-fold less than LPS-treated DC. In antigen-specific and allogeneic T-cell culture experiments, the TF on DEX-treated DC provided a signal through PAR-2, which contributed to the reduced ability of these cells to stimulate CD4(+) T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. In vivo, an inhibitory anti-TF antibody and a PAR-2 antagonist enhanced antigen-specific priming in two models where antigen was given without adjuvant, with an effect approximately 50% that seen with LPS, suggesting that a similar mechanism was operational physiologically. These data suggest a novel TF and PAR-2-dependent mechanism on DEX-DC in vitro and unprimed DC in vivo that contributes to the low immunogenicity of these cells. Targeting this pathway has the potential to influence antigen-specific CD4(+) T-cell activation.
© 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.