Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin-infected dendritic cells potently activate autologous T cells via a B7 and interleukin-12-dependent mechanism.

EJ Cheadle, P Selby, A. Jackson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Mycobacteria are potent adjuvants, can survive intracellularly and have been safely used for many years as vaccines against tuberculosis and leprosy. They are thus important potential vectors for recombinant vaccines. Many of their adjuvant properties are mediated following phagocytosis by dendritic cells (DC), which are in turn critical for priming naïve T cells. Although the maturation of DC in response to mycobacteria, such as Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), is well described the subsequent responses of autologous T cells to mycobacterium-infected DC remains uncharacterized. In our experiments DC infected with BCG expressed more co-stimulatory molecules than tumour-necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) -treated DC and stimulated more potent mixed leucocyte reactions. When autologous T cells were co-cultured with BCG-exposed DC they became highly activated, as determined by display of CD25, CD54 and CD71 on both CD4+ and CD8+ cells. In contrast, the response of T cells to TNF-alpha-matured DC was significantly less. Cytokine production from T cells cultured with BCG-exposed DC was enhanced with elevated secretion of interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-10 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and was produced by both CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes as determined by intracellular staining. In particular, IFN-gamma secretion was increased from 50 pg/ml to 25 000 pg/ml and IL-10 secretion increased from 20 pg/ml to 300 pg/ml in BCG-exposed DC co-cultures. Blocking antibodies to B7.1 and B7.2 or IL-12 significantly reduced the secretion of IFN-gamma and reductions were also seen in the expression of CD25 and CD71 by CD4+ cells. These data demonstrate that mycobacterially infected DC are particularly potent activators of autologous T cells compared to TNF-alpha-exposed DC and that the resultant T cells are functionally superior.
    Original languageEnglish
    Volume108( 1)
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


    • metabolism: Antigens, CD
    • immunology: Antigens, CD80
    • metabolism: Antigens, Differentiation, B-Lymphocyte
    • immunology: CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
    • immunology: CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
    • biosynthesis: Cytokines
    • immunology: Dendritic Cells
    • Humans
    • Immunophenotyping
    • metabolism: Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
    • immunology: Interleukin-12
    • immunology: Lymphocyte Activation
    • immunology: Mycobacterium bovis
    • metabolism: Receptors, Interleukin-2
    • Receptors, Transferrin
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    • immunology: T-Lymphocytes
    • immunology: Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
    • immunology: Up-Regulation


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