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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology