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FLT3-ligand treatment of humanized mice results in the generation of large numbers of CD141+ and CD1c+ dendritic cells in vivo.

Ding Y, Wilkinson A, Idris A, Fancke B, O'Keeffe M, Khalil D, Ju X, Lahoud MH, Caminschi I, Shortman K, Rodwell R, Vuckovic S, Radford KJ

  • Journal Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

  • Published 22 Jan 2014

  • Volume 192

  • ISSUE 4

  • Pagination 1982-9

  • DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1302391


We established a humanized mouse model incorporating FLT3-ligand (FLT3-L) administration after hematopoietic cell reconstitution to investigate expansion, phenotype, and function of human dendritic cells (DC). FLT3-L increased numbers of human CD141(+) DC, CD1c(+) DC, and, to a lesser extent, plasmacytoid DC (pDC) in the blood, spleen, and bone marrow of humanized mice. CD1c(+) DC and CD141(+) DC subsets were expanded to a similar degree in blood and spleen, with a bias toward expansion of the CD1c(+) DC subset in the bone marrow. Importantly, the human DC subsets generated after FLT3-L treatment of humanized mice are phenotypically and functionally similar to their human blood counterparts. CD141(+) DC in humanized mice express C-type lectin-like receptor 9A, XCR1, CADM1, and TLR3 but lack TLR4 and TLR9. They are major producers of IFN-λ in response to polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid but are similar to CD1c(+) DC in their capacity to produce IL-12p70. Although all DC subsets in humanized mice are efficient at presenting peptide to CD8(+) T cells, CD141(+) DC are superior in their capacity to cross-present protein Ag to CD8(+) T cells following activation with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid. CD141(+) DC can be targeted in vivo following injection of Abs against human DEC-205 or C-type lectin-like receptor 9A. This model provides a feasible and practical approach to dissect the function of human CD141(+) and CD1c(+) DC and evaluate adjuvants and DC-targeting strategies in vivo.