Dendritic cells in the pathogenesis and treatment of human diseases: A Janus Bifrons?

Nathalie Cools, Annacarmen Petrizzo, Evelien Smits, Franco M. Buonaguro, Maria L. Tornesello, Zwi Berneman, Luigi Buonaguro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic cells (DCs) represent the bridging cell compartment between a variety of nonself antigens (i.e., microbial, cancer and vaccine antigens) and adaptive immunity, orchestrating the quality and potency of downstream immune responses. Because of the central role of DCs in the generation and regulation of immunity, the modulation of DC function in order to shape immune responses is gaining momentum. In this respect, recent advances in understanding DC biology, as well as the required molecular signals for induction of T-cell immunity, have spurred many experimental strategies to use DCs for therapeutic immunological approaches for infections and cancer. However, when DCs lose control over such 'protective' responses - by alterations in their number, phenotype and/or function - undesired effects leading to allergy and autoimmune clinical manifestations may occur. Novel therapeutic approaches have been designed and currently evaluated in order to address DCs and silence these immunopathological processes. In this article we present recent concepts of DC biology and some medical implications in view of therapeutic opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1222
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • autoimmunity
  • cancer
  • cell therapy and immunotherapy
  • dendritic cells
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Oncology
  • Immunology


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