Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized antigen presenting cells specializing in antigen uptake and processing, and play an important role in the innate and adaptive immune response. A subset of bovine peripheral blood DCs was identified as CD172a+/CD11c+/MHC (major histocompatibility complex) class II+ cells. Although DCs are identified at 0.1%–0.7% of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), the phenotype and function of DCs remain poorly understood with regard to maintaining tolerance during the pregnancy. All cattle used in this study were 1 month before parturition. We have established a novel method for the purification of DCs from PBMC using magnetic-activated cell sorting, and purified the CD172a+/CD11c+ DCs, with high expression of MHC class II and CD40, at 84.8% purity. There were individual differences in the expressions of CD205 and co-stimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86 on DCs. There were positive correlations between expression of cytokine and co-stimulatory molecules in DCs, and the DCs maintained their immune tolerance, evidenced by their low expressions of the co-stimulatory molecules and cytokine production. These results suggest that before parturition a half of DCs may be immature and tend to maintain tolerance based on the low cytokine production, and the other DCs with high co-stimulatory molecules may already have the ability of modulating the T-cell linage.
- dendritic cell