In vitro propagation and homing of liver-derived dendritic cell progenitors to lymphoid tissues of allogeneic recipients. Implications for the establishment and maintenance of donor cell chimerism following liver transplantation

Transplantation. 1995 Feb 27;59(4):544-51. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199502270-00019.


Dendritic cell (DC) progenitors were propagated in liquid culture from nonparenchymal cells resident in normal mouse (B10.BR; H-2k, I-E+) liver in response to granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The liver-derived DC progenitors were MHC class II-/dim and did not express counter receptors for CTLA-4, a structural homologue of the T cell activation molecule CD28. Following subcutaneous or intravenous injection, these liver-derived cells migrated to T cell-dependent areas of lymph nodes and spleen of unmodified, allogeneic (B10; H-2b; I-E-) recipients, where they were identified 1-5 days, and 1 and 2 months after injection by their strong surface expression of donor MHC class II (I-Ek) and their dendritic morphology. Maximal numbers of liver-derived DC in the spleen were recorded 5 days after injection. Both clusters of strongly donor MHC class II+ cells--and (more rarely) dividing cells--could also be identified, suggesting cell replication in situ. Using the same techniques employed to generate DC progenitors from normal liver, GM-CSF-stimulated cells were propagated for 10 days from the bone marrow and spleen of nonimmunosuppressed mice sacrificed 14 days after orthotopic liver transplantation (B10;H-2b-->C3H;H-2k). Immunocytochemical staining for recipient and donor MHC class II phenotype revealed the growth both of host cells with DC characteristics, and of cells expressing donor alloantigens (I-Ab). These results are consistent with the growth, in response to GM-CSF, of donor-derived DC from progenitors seeded from the liver allograft to recipient lymphoid tissue. The functional activity of the progenitors of chimeric DC and the possible role of these cells in the establishment and maintenance of donor-specific tolerance following liver transplantation remain to be determined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Cell Separation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / pharmacology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / biosynthesis*
  • Immune Tolerance
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoantigens / biosynthesis
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Isoantigens
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor