Differential Gene Expression in Thrombomodulin (TM; CD141)+ and TM− Dendritic Cell Subsets
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Previously we have shown in a mouse model of bronchial asthma that thrombomodulin can convert immunogenic conventional dendritic cells into tolerogenic dendritic cells while inducing its own expression on their cell surface. Thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells are tolerogenic while thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells are pro-inflammatory and immunogenic. Here we hypothesized that thrombomodulin treatment of dendritic cells would modulate inflammatory gene expression. Murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells were treated with soluble thrombomodulin and expression of surface markers was determined. Treatment with thrombomodulin reduces the expression of maturation markers and increases the expression of TM on the DC surface. Thrombomodulin treated and control dendritic cells were sorted into thrombomodulin(+) and thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells before their mRNA was analyzed by microarray. mRNAs encoding pro-inflammatory genes and dendritic cells maturation markers were reduced while expression of cell cycle genes were increased in thrombomodulin-treated and thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells compared to control dendritic cells and thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells. Thrombomodulin-treated and thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells had higher expression of 15-lipoxygenase suggesting increased synthesis of lipoxins. Thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells produced more lipoxins than thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells, as measured by ELISA, confirming that this pathway was upregulated. There was more phosphorylation of several cell cycle kinases in thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells while phosphorylation of kinases involved with pro-inflammatory cytokine signaling was reduced. Cultures of thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells contained more cells actively dividing than those of thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells. Production of IL-10 is increased in thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells. Antagonism of IL-10 with a neutralizing antibody inhibited the effects of thrombomodulin treatment of dendritic cells suggesting a mechanistic role for IL-10. The surface of thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells supported activation of protein C and procarboxypeptidase B2 in a thrombomodulin-dependent manner. Thus thrombomodulin treatment increases the number of thrombomodulin(+) dendritic cells, which have significantly altered gene expression compared to thrombomodulin(-) dendritic cells in key immune function pathways.
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