ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells (DCs) are the most potent APCs of the immune system. Understanding the intercellular and intracellular signaling processes that lead to DC maturation is critical for determining how these cells initiate T cell-mediated immune processes. NO synthesized by the inducible NO synthase (iNOS) is important for the function of murine DCs. In our study, we investigated the regulation of the arginine/NO-system in human monocyte-derived DCs. Maturation of DCs induced by inflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, TNF, IL-6, and PGE(2)) resulted in a pronounced expression of neuronal NOS (nNOS) but only minimal levels of iNOS and endothelial NOS were detected in human mature DCs. In addition, reporter cell assays revealed the production of NO by mature DCs. Specific inhibitors of NOS (N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester) or of the NO target guanylyl cyclase (H-(1,2,4)-oxadiazolo [4,3-a] quinoxalin-1-one) prevented DC maturation (shown by decreased expression of MHC class II, costimulatory and CD83 molecules and reduced IL-12 production) and preserved an immature phenotype, indicating an autocrine effect of nNOS-derived NO on human DC maturation. Notably, inhibitor-treated DCs were incapable of inducing efficient T cell responses after primary culture and generated an anergic T cell phenotype. In conclusion, our results suggest that, in the human system, nNOS-, but not iNOS-derived NO, plays an important regulatory role for the maturation of DCs and, thus, the induction of pronounced T cell responses.
The Journal of Immunology 06/2010; 184(11):6025-34. · 5.79 Impact Factor