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Genetic profiles of plasmacytoid (BDCA-4 expressing) DC subtypes-clues to DC subtype function in vivo

Stephen H Wrzesinski13*, Jan L Fisher2 and Marc S Ernstoff12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH, 03756, USA

2 Medical Oncology Immunotherapy Program, Section of Hematology and Oncology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH, 03756, USA

3 St. Peter’s Cancer Care Center, 317 S. Manning Blvd, Suite 220, Albany, NY, 12208, USA

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Experimental Hematology & Oncology 2013, 2:8  doi:10.1186/2162-3619-2-8

Published: 9 March 2013


Among the dendritic cell (DC) subsets, plasmacytoid DC’s (pDC) are thought to be important in the generation of both antiviral and antitumor responses. While pDC may be useful in developing dendritic cell-based tumor vaccines, the low frequency of these cells in the peripheral blood has hampered attempts to understand their biology. To provide better insight into the biology of pDC, we isolated these unperturbed cells from the peripheral blood of healthy donors in order to further characterize their gene expression. Using gene array technology we compared the genetic profiles of these cells to those of CD14+ monocytes isolated from the same donors and found several immune related genes upregulated in this cell population. This is the first description, to our knowledge, of gene expression in this subset of DCs obtained from the peripheral blood of adult human donors without exposure in vitro to cytokine or growth factors. Understanding the natural genetic profiles of this dendritic cell subtype as well as others such as the BDCA-1 expressing myeloid DCs may enable us to manipulate these cells ex-vivo to generate enhanced DC-based tumor vaccines inducing more robust antitumor responses.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells; Gene expression; Granzyme B