Evidence for recruitment of plasmacytoid dendritic cell precursors to inflamed lymph nodes through high endothelial venules

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Recruitment of dendritic cells (DCs) to lymph nodes (LNs) is pivotal to the establishment of immune response. Whereas DCs have been proven to undergo afferent lymphatic pathway to enter LNs from peripheral tissues, a question remains if DCs also migrate into LNs directly from the circulation. Here we demonstrate that plasmacytoid DC (pDC) precursors can transmigrate across high endothelial venules (HEVs) of inflamed LNs in mice. Bacterial infection induces a significant number of pDC and myeloid DC (mDC) precursors into the circulation. Both subsets express a common set of chemokine receptors except CXCR3, display parallel mobilization into the blood, but show distinct trafficking pathway to the LNs. In a short-term homing assay, whereas mDC precursors migrate to peripheral tissues and subsequently to draining LNs, pDC precursors directly enter the LNs in a CXCL9 and E-selectin dependent manner. Tumor necrosis factor-α controls not only DC precursor mobilization into the blood but also chemokine up-regulation on LN HEVs. A similar trafficking pathway is observed also in viral infection, and CXCR3–/– mice-derived pDC precursors show defective trans-HEV migration. This study clarifies the inflammation-dependent, chemokine-driven distinct property of DC precursor trafficking.

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