HMGB1 is an endogenous immune adjuvant released by necrotic cells

Patrizia Rovere-Querini, Annalisa Capobianco, Paola Scaffidi, Barbara Valentinis, Federica Catalanotti, Marta Giazzon, Ingrid E. Dumitriu, Susanne Müller, Matteo Iannacone, Catia Traversari, Marco E. Bianchi, Angelo A. Manfredi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immune responses against pathogens require that microbial components promote the activation of antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Autoimmune diseases and graft rejections occur in the absence of pathogens; in these conditions, endogenous molecules, the so-called 'innate adjuvants', activate APCs. Necrotic cells contain and release innate adjuvants; necrotic cells also release high-mobility group B1 protein (HMGB1), an abundant and conserved constituent of vertebrate nuclei. Here, we show that necrotic HMGB1-/- cells have a reduced ability to activate APCs, and HMGB1 blockade reduces the activation induced by necrotic wild-type cell supernatants. In vivo, HMGB1 enhances the primary antibody responses to soluble antigens and transforms poorly immunogenic apoptotic lymphoma cells into efficient vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-830
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004


  • Apoptosis
  • HMGB1
  • Immune adjuvants
  • Innate immunity
  • Necrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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