IL-15 activated human peripheral blood dendritic cell kill allogeneic and xenogeneic endothelial cells via apoptosis

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IL-15 is a pleotropic cytokine, which plays an important role in natural killer (NK) cell activity, T cell proliferation, and T cell cytotoxic activity. Dendritic cells (DCs) are the major antigen presenting cells in the immune system and presumed to play an important role in immune recognition of allo and xenotransplantation. We showed that IL-15 activated human peripheral blood DC is cytotoxic to human and porcine aortic endothelial cells. Unlike DCs, CD14+ monocytes show no cytotoxicity against the endothelial cells. This cytotoxic potential of IL-15 activated DC against endothelial cells is dose dependent and increases significantly upon treatment of endothelial cells with inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α or IFN-γ. The cytotoxic potential of IL-15 activated DC is associated with apoptosis of endothelial cells, as indicated by the increased Annexin V staining, caspase activation and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. Further it was observed that DC mediated cytotoxicity against endothelial cell is mediated via granzyme B possibly secreted by the activated DCs.

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