1998 Volume 184 Issue 3 Pages 159-172
Recently, elucidation has progressed on a crucial role played by dendritic cells (DCs) in the induction of primary antigen-specific immune reactions. Although mature DCs exhibit potent antigen presenting function, DCs are scattered in nonlymphoid organs throughout the body as immature cells that have only minimum antigen presenting function. When they are stimulated to maturate, they increase their expression of class II major histocompatibility (MHC) antigen and several co-stimulatory molecules, resulting in the augmentation of antigen presenting function. Furthermore, these maturated DCs move to the T-dependent areas of secondary lymphoid organs to sensitize naive T cells for these antigens. Therefore, it is important to understand the mechanism to induce the maturation of DCs. Recent progress in the study of DC biology depicts various factors, such as cytokines, bacterial products and haptens, which are responsible for DC maturation. In this paper, the mechanism of DC maturation induced by cytokines and chemicals is described.