Unique lamina propria stromal cells imprint the functional phenotype of mucosal dendritic cells

Mucosal Immunol. 2015 Jan;8(1):141-51. doi: 10.1038/mi.2014.51. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Mucosal dendritic cells (DCs) in the intestine acquire the unique capacity to produce retinoic acid (RA), a vitamin A metabolite that induces gut tropism and regulates the functional differentiation of the T cells they prime. Here, we identified a stromal cell (SC) population in the intestinal lamina propria (LP), which is capable of inducing RA production in DCs in a RA- and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-dependent fashion. Unlike DCs, LP SCs constitutively expressed the enzymatic machinery to produce RA even in the absence of dietary vitamin A, but were not able to do so in germ-free mice implying regulation by microbiota. Interestingly, DCs promoted GM-CSF production by the SCs indicating a two-way cross-talk between both cell types. Furthermore, RA-producing LP SCs and intestinal DCs localized closely in vivo suggesting that the interactions between both cell types might have an important role in the functional education of migratory DCs and therefore in the regulation of immune responses toward oral and commensal antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Diet
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / metabolism
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunomodulation
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology*
  • Stromal Cells / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tretinoin / immunology
  • Tretinoin / metabolism*


  • Tretinoin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor