Dendritic cells genetically modified to express CD40 ligand and pulsed with antigen can initiate antigen-specific humoral immunity independent of CD4+ T cells.
Mice, Inbred C57BL
We have investigated whether dendritic cells genetically modified to express CD40 ligand and pulsed with antigen can trigger B cells to produce antigen-specific antibodies without CD4+ T-cell help. Dendritic cells modified with a recombinant adenovirus vector to express CD40 ligand and pulsed with heat-killed Pseudomonas induced naive B cells to produce antibodies against Pseudomonas in the absence of CD4+ T cells in vitro, initiated Pseudomonas-specific humoral immune responses in vivo in wild-type and CD4-/- mice, and protected immunized wild-type and CD4-/-, but not B-cell -/- mice, from lethal intrapulmonary challenge with Pseudomonas. Thus, genetic modification of dendritic cells with CD40 ligand enables them to present a complex mixture of microbial antigens and establish CD4+ T cell-independent, B cell-mediated protective immunity against a specific microbe.