Redox Control of Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Expression and Activity in Human Monocyte-Derived Dendritic Cells is Independent of Changes in Oxygen Tension

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Dendritic cells (DCs) initiate adaptive immune responses to pathogens and tumours and maintain tolerance to self and innocuous antigens. These functions occur in organs and tissues exhibiting wide variations in nutrients, growth factors, redox and oxygen tension. Understanding how these microenvironmental factors influence DCs to affect immunological outcomes is of increasing relevance with the emerging success of DC-based cellular vaccines. In a previous study, we examined whether redox, an important environmental cue, could influence DC expression of the immunosuppressive enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). IDO-competent DCs promote long-term immune homoeostasis by limiting exaggerated inflammatory responses and directing regulatory T-cell effector function. To alter redox, we manipulated the activity of the cystine/glutamate antiporter, which functions to maintain intracellular and extracellular redox. The results of that study showed that redox perturbation strongly induced IDO expression and activity in DCs. While this study was performed using standard cell culture techniques with DCs cultured under 5% CO2 and 20% O2, it is clear that DCs capture and present antigens in inflamed tissues and secondary lymphoid organs which exhibit low oxygen tension (1–5% O2). Therefore, here we investigated whether oxygen tension influences DC expression of IDO in the context of homoeostatic and altered redox.

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