IL-35 is a cytokine of the IL-12 family, existing as a heterodimer of IL-12p35 and Ebi3. IL-35 has anti-inflammatory properties and is produced by regulatory T cells in humans and mice, where it is required for optimal suppression of immune responses. Distinct from other IL-12 cytokines, the expression of IL-35 has not been described in antigen-presenting cells. In view of the immune-regulatory properties of IL-35, we investigated the expression, regulation, and function of IL-12p35 and Ebi3 in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells and tolerogenic DCs (tolDCs). These tolDCs do not produce IL-12p70 or the homodimer IL-12p40. We demonstrate that tolDCs completely lack transcriptional expression of IL-12p40. However, tolDCs maintain mRNA expression of IL-12p35 and Ebi3. Using intracellular flow cytometry and Western blot analysis, we show that tolDCs produce Ebi3 and IL-12p35, and both can be enhanced upon stimulation with IFN-γ, LPS, or CD40L. tolDCs supernatants have the capacity to suppress T-cell activation. Using IL12A silencing, we demonstrate that IL-12p35 is required for tolDCs to reach their full suppressive potential. Taken together, our results indicate that tolDCs produce IL-35, providing an additional novel mechanism by which tolDCs elicit their tolerogenic potential.
Keywords: Dendritic cells; Human; IL-12/IL-35 axis; Tolerance.
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