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Stromal fibroblasts support dendritic cells to maintain IL-23/Th17 responses after exposure to ionizing radiation

Malecka, Anna; Wang, Ounwei; Shah, Sabaria; Sutavani, Ruhcha V.; Spendlove, Ian; Ramage, Judith M.; Greensmith, Julie; Franks, Hester A.; Gough, Michael J.; Saalbach, Anja; Patel, Poulam M.; Jackson, Andrew M.

Stromal fibroblasts support dendritic cells to maintain IL-23/Th17 responses after exposure to ionizing radiation Thumbnail


Anna Malecka

Ounwei Wang

Sabaria Shah

Ruhcha V. Sutavani

Clinical Associate Professor/ anne Mclaren Fellowship

Michael J. Gough

Anja Saalbach

Professor of Clinical Oncology


Dendritic cell function is modulated by stromal cells, including fibroblasts. Although poorly understood, the signals delivered through this crosstalk substantially alter dendritic cell biology. This is well illustrated with release of TNF-0/IL-113 from activated dendritic cells, promoting PGE2 secretion from stromal fibroblasts. This instructs dendritic cells to up-regulate IL-23, a key Th17-polarizing cytokine. We previously showed that ionizing radiation inhibited IL-23 production by human dendritic cells in vitro. In the present study, we investigated the hypothesis that dendritic cell-fibroblast crosstalk over¬comes the suppressive effect of ionizing radiation to support appropriately polarized Th17 responses. Radia¬tion (1–6 Gy) markedly suppressed IL-23 secretion by activated dendritic cells (P < 0.0001) without adversely impacting their viability and consequently, inhibited the generation of Th17 responses. Cytokine suppression by ionizing radiation was selective, as there was no effect on IL-10, -6, -10, and -27 or TNF-a and only a modest (11%) decrease in IL-12p70 secretion. Coculture with fibroblasts augmented IL-23 secretion by irradiated dendritic cells and increased Th17 responses. Impor¬tantly, in contrast to dendritic cells, irradiated fibroblasts maintained their capacity to respond to TNF-0/IL-10 and produce PGE2, thus providing the key intermediary signals for successful dendritic cell-fibroblasts crosstalk. In summary, stromal fibroblasts support Th17-polarizing cytokine production by dendritic cells that would other¬wise be suppressed in an irradiated microenvironment. This has potential ramifications for understanding the immune response to local radiotherapy. These findings underscore the need to account for the impact of microenvironmental factors, including stromal cells, in understanding the control of immunity. J. Leukoc. Biol. 100: 000–000; 2016.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 18, 2016
Online Publication Date Apr 5, 2016
Publication Date 2016-08
Deposit Date May 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 21, 2016
Journal Journal of Leukocyte Biology
Print ISSN 0741-5400
Electronic ISSN 1938-3673
Publisher Society for Leukocyte Biology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 100
Issue 2
Pages 381-389
Public URL
Publisher URL


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