Blood dendritic cells in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

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Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (MDCs, PDCs) play a key role in the initiation of immune responses. In this study, we show a severe reduction of MDCs and PDCs in patients with B lineage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (B-ALL; P = 0·01 vs. controls). DCs from patients with T lineage ALL (T-ALL) were quantitatively and functionally comparable to healthy donors, as demonstrated by secretion of interleukin (IL)-12p70 and interferon-α. In vitro, the circulating CD34+ fraction of B-ALL cases did not generate either CD1a+ MDCs or PDCs, suggesting that DC development is probably affected in B-ALL, but not in T-ALL.

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