Distinct activation of primary human BDCA1(+) dendritic cells upon interaction with stressed or infected beta cells

B. M. Schulte, E. D. Kers-Rebel, R. Bottino, J. D. Piganelli, J. M. Galama, M. A. Engelse, E. J. de Koning, G. J. Adema

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Derailment of immune responses can lead to autoimmune type 1 diabetes, and this can be accelerated or even induced by local stress caused by inflammation or infection. Dendritic cells (DCs) shape both innate and adaptive immune responses. Here, we report on the responses of naturally occurring human myeloid BDCA1(+) DCs towards differentially stressed pancreatic beta cells. Our data show that BDCA1(+) DCs in human pancreas-draining lymph node (pdLN) suspensions and blood-derived BDCA1(+) DCs both effectively engulf beta cells, thus mimicking physiological conditions. Upon uptake of enterovirus-infected, but not mock-infected cells, BDCA1(+) DCs induced interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta responses, co-stimulatory molecules and proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Notably, induction of stress in beta cells by ultraviolet irradiation, culture in serum-free medium or cytokine-induced stress did not provoke strong DC activation, despite efficient phagocytosis. DC activation correlated with the amount of virus used to infect beta cells and required RNA within virally infected cells. DCs encountering enterovirus-infected beta cells, but not those incubated with mock-infected or stressed beta cells, suppressed T helper type 2 (Th2) cytokines and variably induced IFN-gamma in allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR). Thus, stressed beta cells have little effect on human BDCA1(+) DC activation and function, while enterovirus-infected beta cells impact these cells significantly, which could help to explain their role in development of autoimmune diabetes in individuals at risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-307
Number of pages15
JournalClinical & Experimental Immunology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • BDCA1+ myeloid DC DC maturation enterovirus human islets of Langerhans beta cells


Dive into the research topics of 'Distinct activation of primary human BDCA1(+) dendritic cells upon interaction with stressed or infected beta cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this