Relative efficiency of microglia, astrocytes, dendritic cells and B cells in naive CD4+ T cell priming and Th1/Th2 cell restimulation

Francesca Aloisi, Francesco Ria, Sandra Columba-Cabezas, Henry Hess, Giuseppe Penna, Luciano Adorini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have compared the efficiency of central nervous system and peripheral antigen-presenting cells (APC) in T cell priming and restimulation. OVA peptide 323-339-dependent activation of DO11.10 TCR-transgenic naive CD4+ and polarized Th1 or Th2 cells was assessed in the presence of microglia and astrocytes from the neonatal mouse brain as well as dendritic cells (DC) and B cells purified from adult mouse lymph nodes. DC were the most efficient in inducing naive T cell proliferation, IL-2 secretion and differentiation into Th1 cells, followed by IFN-γ-preactivated microglia, large and small B cells. Astrocytes failed to activate naive T cells. IFN-γ-pretreated microglia were as efficient as DC in the restimulation of Th1 cells, whereas IFN-γ-pretreated astrocytes, large and small B cells were much less efficient. Conversely, Th2 cells were efficiently restimulated by all the APC types examined. During T cell priming, DC secreted more IL-12 than microglia but similar amounts of IL-12 were secreted by the two cell types upon interaction with Th1 cells. The hierarchy of APC established in this study indicates that DC and microglia are the most efficient in the stimulation of naive CD4+ T cells and in the restimulation of Th1 cells, suggesting that activated microglia may effectively contribute to Th1 responses leading to central nervous system inflammation and tissue damage. These potentially pathogenic responses could be counteracted by the high efficiency of astrocytes as well as microglia in restimulating Th2 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2705-2714
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Antigen presentation
  • B cell
  • Dendritic cell
  • IL-12
  • Neural cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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