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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2003 December;94(6):379-86


language: Italian

Cytofluorimetric evaluation of peripheral blood dendritic cells in patients with mediterranean Kaposi’s sarcoma

Vaccari M., Della Bella S., Brambilla L., Ferrucci S., Nicola S., Berti E., Boneschi V., Villa M. L.


Aim. Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a lympho-angioproliferative disorder characterized by angiomatous nodules and plaques that mainly affect the skin. The disease is consistently associated with human herpesvirus-8 (HHV8) and with a state of preexistent immunosupression. Dendritic cells (DCs) have an instrumental role in the activation and function of both innate and adaptative immune responses. At least 2 distinct subsets have been characterized in peripheral blood based on phenotypic markers: myeloid DCs (CD11c+), associated with Ag uptake, T cell activation and ability to secrete IL-12, and plasmacytoid DCs, high virus-induced IFN-alpha producing cells. Because of the role of both DC subtypes in antiviral and antitumor induced responses, we hypothesized that DCs could be involved in the onset and evolution of KS.
Methods. Thirty-five patients with mediterranean KS assigned to different clinical stages were compared with 51 healthy control subjects. Peripheral blood DCs were quantified and functionally characterised by flow cytometry directly on whole blood samples. The production of the regulatory cytokines, IL-12 and IL-10, was assessed as intracellular accumulation after incubation with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS).
Results. Myeloid DCs identified as lineage-/HLA-DR+/CD11c+ cells were significantly lower in KS patients than in controls (0.54±0.25 vs 0.69 ±0.26% of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells; p<0.017). Furthermore, CD11c+ DCs were lower in patients with more diffuse disease. Plasmacytoid DCs, identified as lineage-/HLA-DR+/CD123+ cells, were lower in KS patients (0.23±0.19 vs 0.36±0.17; p<0.001). DCs from KS patients were more mature, as assessed by expression of the maturation marker CD83, and showed an impaired ability to produce IL-12 upon LPS stimulation, as compared with controls.
Conclusion. The numerical and functional alterations of peripheral blood DCs observed in KS patients suggest an involvement of these cells in the onset and evolution of the disease.

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