Profiling dendritic cell subsets in the patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis

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Dendritic cell (DC) plays an important role in the immune response against pulmonary tuberculosis. However, the phenotypic profile of DC subsets in peripheral blood in individuals with active pulmonary tuberculosis (APT) is still inconclusive. Here, we demonstrated that the absolute numbers of total DC (tDC), myeloid DC (mDC) and plasmacytoid DC (pDC) in individuals with APT were decreased compared to healthy controls (HCs). The decreased number of DCs, especially of pDC, seems to be a useful diagnostic marker of APT. Meanwhile, the number of DCs was associated with the prolonged/complicated TB, ATD treatment effect and lymphocyte immune reactions, as manifested that relapsed APT patients with a higher number of tDC and lower number of pDC compared to newly diagnosed patients. Interestingly, mDC from APT patients displayed high expressions of CD83 and CCR7, but pDC displayed low expressions of CD83 and CCR7. Moreover, DCs from APT patients expressed lower levels of HLA-DR and CD80, but expressed a higher level of CD86 than those from HCs. However, the antigen uptake capacity of DC subsets was not different between APT and HCs, despite the antigen uptake capacity of pDC was much lower than that of mDC in both APT patients and HCs. Our data represent a systematic profile of DC subsets in the blood of APT patients, and would represent a useful biomarker for APT.

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