Original Article In vitro treatment of dendritic cells with tacrolimus: impaired T-cell activation and IP-10 expression


Background. High doses (10–6–10–8M) of tacrolimus (FK506) were reported to induce a type-2 T-helper cell (Th2)-promoting function in developing dendritic cells (DC). We used a therapeutic dose (2.4 10–9M) of tacrolimus to investigate its effect on human monocyte-derived DC. Methods. Using untreated and treated immature and mature DC we compared T cell-activating capacity, surface marker expression, T cell and DC cytokine pro-file and transcription of genes coding for a panel of DC function-related molecules. Results. Tacrolimus-treated mature DC had reduced T-cell stimulatory capacity. Although interleukin (IL)-12 production of DC was impaired, they did not promote Th2 development as T cells activated by tacrolimus-treated DC produced less interferon (IFN)-, IL-4 and IL-10. The up-regulation of the T-cell activation marker CD69 and the production of IL-2 were impaired. In addition, tacrolimus-treated DC produced less IP-10 (CXCL10), which is known to be involved in allograft rejection. Other molecules related to DC function remained unchanged. Conclusions. Tacrolimus treatment reduces the ability of DC to stimulate T cells and the impaired production of DC-derived IP-10 (CXCL10) and IL-12 might play a role in the immunosuppressive action of tacrolimus

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