Dendritic Cell-Derived IL-12 Is Not Required for the Generation of Cytotoxic, IFN-γ-Secreting, CD8+ CTL In Vivo
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By using adoptive transfer of Ag-loaded bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC), we have established an in vivo model of CTL priming. Activation of CTL in these experiments required both CD4(+) T cells and CD154, demonstrating that this model reflects CD4(+) T cell-dependent dendritic cell (DC) licensing. Because IL-12 has been suggested to play an important role in CTL activation by DC, we examined the ability of BMDC to prime CTL in the complete absence of IL-12 using p40-deficient mice. We observed that the absence of IL-12 does not affect the phenotype or allostimulatory function of BMDC after in vitro maturation. Moreover, there was no difference in the ability of Ag-loaded DC to elicit CTL cytotoxicity, whether the Ag was delivered by virus infection or peptide pulsing. Equal frequencies of Ag-specific, IFN-gamma-secreting CD8(+) T cells developed in both wild-type and IL-12-deficient backgrounds. Finally, CTL generated in the IL-12-deficient environment were capable of protecting immunized mice against tumor challenge, demonstrating that these CTL were fully functional, despite the absence of IL-12 during the maturation process in vivo. These results indicate that IL-12 is not critical for the development of IFN-gamma secreting, CD8(+) T cells and that another mechanism must be used by licensed DC to prime and activate CTL.
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