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Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC) are a small population of leukocytes specialized in the production of type I IFN. It has been shown that PDC have a potent T cell stimulatory capacity in allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction, However, their role in initiating primary immune responses remains elusive. We report that blood PDC efficiently prime naive CD8(+) lymphocytes specific for the melan-A(26-35) epitope to become IFN-gamma producing cells in vitro. In addition, we found that CD40L-stimulated PDC induce expression on primed melan-A-specific T cells of cutaneous lymphocyte antigen and L-selectin (CD62L), homing receptors that allow the migration of effector cells to the inflamed skin. Finally, we show that PDC can be found in the peri-tumoral area of most primary cutaneous melanomas in vivo and that type I IFN-containing supernatants derived from PDC increase melanoma cell surface expression of CD95 and MHC class I and class II molecules in vitro. Our results suggest a new immunomodulatory role for tissue infiltrating PDC, which may prime tumor-specific T cell responses and affect tumor growth via soluble factors.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date





1052 - 1062


Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Antigens, Neoplasm, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Dendritic Cells, Histocompatibility Antigens, Humans, Interferon Type I, Interferon-gamma, Interleukin-12, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating, MART-1 Antigen, Melanoma, Membrane Glycoproteins, Neoplasm Proteins, Tumor Cells, Cultured, fas Receptor