Dendritic cells derived from BCG-infected precursors induce Th2-like immune response

Angelo Martino, Alessandra Sacchi, Nunzia Sanarico, Francesca Spadaro, Carlo Ramoni, Antonio Ciaramella, Leopoldo Paolo Pucillo, Vittorio Colizzi, Silvia Vendetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human monocytes can differentiate into dendritic cells (DCs) according to the nature of environmental signals. We tested here whether the infection with the live tuberculosis vaccine bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), which is known to be limited in preventing pulmonary tuberculosis, modulates monocyte and DC differentiation. We found that monocytes infected with BCG differentiate into CD1a- DCs (BCG-DCs) in the presence of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor and interleukin (IL)-4 and acquired a mature phenotype in the absence of maturation stimuli. In addition, BCG-DCs produced proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor α, IL-1β, IL-6) and IL-10 but not IL-12. BCG-DCs were able to stimulate allogeneic T lymphocytes to a similar degree as DCs generated in the absence of infection. However, BCG-DCs induced IL-4 production when cocultured with human cord-blood mononuclear cells. The induction of IL-4 production by DCs generated by BCG-infected monocytes could explain the failure of the BCG vaccine to prevent pulmonary tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-834
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • CD1a
  • Cytokines
  • Differentiation
  • Mycobacteria
  • Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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