A role for CD36 in the regulation of dendritic cell function.
Urban BC., Willcox N., Roberts DJ.
Dendritic cells (DC) are crucial for the induction of immune responses and thus an inviting target for modulation by pathogens. We have previously shown that Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes inhibit the maturation of DCs. Intact P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes can bind directly to CD36 and indirectly to CD51. It is striking that these receptors, at least in part, also mediate the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Here we show that antibodies against CD36 or CD51, as well as exposure to early apoptotic cells, profoundly modulate DC maturation and function in response to inflammatory signals. Although modulated DCs still secrete tumor necrosis factor-alpha, they fail to activate T cells and now secrete IL-10. We therefore propose that intact P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes and apoptotic cells engage similar pathways regulating DC function. These findings may have important consequences for the treatment of malaria and may suggest strategies for modulating pathological immune responses in autoimmune diseases.