Functional specializations of intestinal dendritic cell and macrophage subsets that control Th17 and regulatory T cell responses are dependent on the T cell/APC ratio, source of mouse strain, and regional localization

Timothy L. Denning, Brian A. Norris, Oscar Medina-Contreras, Santhakumar Manicassamy, Duke Geem, Rajat Madan, Christopher L. Karp, Bali Pulendran

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186 Scopus citations


Although several subsets of intestinal APCs have been described, there has been no systematic evaluation of their phenotypes, functions, and regional localization to date. In this article, we used 10-color flow cytometry to define the major APC subsets in the small and large intestine lamina propria. Lamina propria APCs could be subdivided into CD11c+CD11b-, CD11c+CD11b+, and CD11cdullCD11b+ subsets. CD11c+CD11b- cells were largely CD103 +F4/80- dendritic cells (DCs), whereas the CD11c + CD11b+ subset comprised CD11c+CD11b +CD103+F4/80- DCs and CD11c +CD11b+CD1032F4/80+ macrophage-like cells. The majority of CD11cdullCD11b+ cells were CD103 -F4/80+ macrophages. Although macrophages were more efficient at inducing Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells than DCs, at higher T cell/APC ratios, all of the DC subsets efficiently induced Foxp3+ Treg cells. In contrast, only CD11c +CD11b+CD103+ DCs efficiently induced Th17 cells. Consistent with this, the regional distribution of CD11c+ CD11b+CD103+ DCs correlated with that of Th17 cells, with duodenum > jejunum > ileum > colon. Conversely, CD11c +CD11b- CD103+ DCs, macrophages, and Foxp3 + Treg cells were most abundant in the colon and scarce in the duodenum. Importantly, however, the ability of DC and macrophage subsets to induce Foxp3+ Treg cells versus Th17 cells was strikingly dependent on the source of the mouse strain. Thus, DCs from C57BL/6 mice from Charles River Laboratories (that have segmented filamentous bacteria, which induce robust levels of Th17 cells in situ) were more efficient at inducing Th17 cells and less efficient at inducing Foxp3+ Treg cells than DCs from B6 mice from The Jackson Laboratory. Thus, the functional specializations of APC subsets in the intestine are dependent on the T cell/APC ratio, regional localization, and source of the mouse strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-747
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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