Rapid generation of monocyte-derived antigen-presenting cells with dendritic cell-like properties

Transfusion. 2021 Jun;61(6):1845-1855. doi: 10.1111/trf.16385. Epub 2021 Mar 30.


Background: One of the major challenges in cellular therapy is the establishment and validation of simple and fast production protocols meeting good manufacturing practice (GMP) requirements. Dendritic cells (DCs) are of particular therapeutic interest, due to their critical role in T cell response initiation and regulation. Conventional wisdom states that DC generation from monocytes is a time-consuming protocol, taking up to 7-9 days.

Study design and methods: This study systematically screened and validated numerous culture components and conditions to identify the minimal requirements, which can give rise to functional monocyte-derived antigen-presenting cells (MoAPCs) in less than 48 h (36 h MoAPC). A total of 36 h MoAPCs were evaluated in terms of surface marker expression, endocytic capability, and induction of antigen-specific T cell expansion via flow cytometry.

Results: Screening of media compositions, glucose concentrations, and surface marker kinetics, particularly DC-SIGN as a DC-specific marker, allowed the generation of DC-like APCs in 36 h (36 h MoAPCs). A total of 36 h MoAPCs displayed a similar phenotype to 48 h MoAPC and standard 7 d MoDCs in terms of HLA-DP,DQ,DR, CD83, and DC-SIGN expression, while CD1a was preferentially expressed in standard MoDCs. Functional evaluation revealed that 36 h MoAPCs displayed reduced endocytosis capabilities and IL-12p70 production. However, 36 h MoAPCs were able to induce T cell expansion both in an allogenic and antigen-specific setting.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that mature 36 h MoAPCs possess DC-like capabilities by inducing antigen-specific T cell responses. This study has important implications for the generation of DC-based cellular therapies, allowing a more cost and time-efficient generation of APCs.

Keywords: 36 h MoAPCs; 48 h MoAPC; antigen-presenting cells; monocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / cytology*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / cytology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Antigens
  • Culture Media
  • Cytokines