WSX-1 is the α subunit of the IL-27R complex expressed by T, B, NK/NKT cells, as well as macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). Although it has been shown that IL-27 has both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on T cells, little is known on the role of IL-27/WSX-1 on DCs. LPS stimulation of splenic DCs in vivo resulted in prolonged CD80/CD86 expression on WSX-1-deficient DCs over wild-type DCs. Upon LPS stimulation in vitro, WSX-1-deficient DCs expressed Th1-promoting molecules higher than wild-type DCs. In an allogeneic MLR assay, WSX-1-deficient DCs were more potent than wild-type DCs in the induction of proliferation of and IFN-γ production by responder cell proliferation. When cocultured with purified NK cells, WSX-1-deficient DCs induced higher IFN-γ production and killing activity of NK cells than wild-type DCs. As such, Ag-pulsed WSX-1-deficient DCs induced Th1-biased strong immune responses over wild-type DCs when transferred in vivo. WSX-1-deficient DCs were hyperreactive to LPS stimulation as compared with wild-type DCs by cytokine production. IL-27 suppressed LPS-induced CD80/86 expression and cytokine production by DCs in vitro. Thus, our study demonstrated that IL-27/WSX-1 signaling potently down-regulates APC function and Th1-promoting function of DCs to modulate overall immune responses.
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