In a humid milieu such as mucosal surfaces, pollen grains do not only release allergens but also proinflammatory and immunomodulatory lipids, termed pollen-associated lipid mediators. Among these, the E1-phytoprostanes (PPE1) were identified to modulate dendritic cell (DC) function: PPE1 inhibit the DC's capacity to produce IL-12 and enhance DC mediated T H2 polarization of naive T cells. The mechanism(s) by which PPE 1 act on DC remained elusive. We thus analyzed candidate signaling elements and their role in PPE1-mediated regulation of DC function. Aqueous birch pollen extracts induced a marked cAMP response in DC that could be blocked partially by EP2 and EP4 antagonists. In contrast, PPE1 hardly induced cAMP and the inhibitory effect on IL-12 production was mostly independent of EP2 and EP4. Instead, PPE1 inhibited the LPS-induced production of IL-12 p70 by a mechanism involving the nuclear receptor PPAR-γ. Finally, PPE1 efficiently blocked NF-κB signaling in DCs by inhibiting IκB-α degradation, translocation of p65 to the nucleus, and binding to its target DNA elements. We conclude that pollen-derived PPE1 modulate DC function via PPAR-γ dependent pathways that lead to inhibition of NFκB activation and result in reduced DC IL-12 production and consecutive TH2 polarization.
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