Expression of the T cell receptor αβ on a CD123+ BDCA2+ HLA-DR+ subpopulation in head and neck Squamous cell carcinoma

Annette Thiel*, Rebecca Kesselring, Ralph Pries, Alexander Puzik, Nadine Wittkopf, Barbara Wollenberg

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Human Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells (PDCs) infiltrating solid tumor tissues and draining lymph nodes of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) show an impaired immune response. In addition to an attenuated secretion of IFN-a little is known about other HNSCC-induced functional alterations in PDCs. Particular objectives in this project were to gain new insights regarding tumor-induced phenotypical and functional alterations in the PDC population. We showed by FACS analysis and RT-PCR that HNSCC orchestrates an as yet unknown subpopulation exhibiting functional autonomy in-vitro and in-vivo besides bearing phenotypical resemblance to PDCs and T cells. A subset, positive for the PDC markers CD123, BDCA-2, HLA-DR and the T cell receptor ab (TCR-ab) was significantly induced subsequent to stimulation with HNSCC in-vitro (p = 0.009) and also present in metastatic lymph nodes in-vivo. This subgroup could be functionally distinguished due to an enhanced production of IL-2 (p = 0.02), IL-6 (p = 0.0007) and TGF-b (not significant). Furthermore, after exposure to HNSCC cells, mRNA levels revealed a D-J-beta rearrangement of the TCR-beta chain besides a strong enhancement of the CD3e chain in the PDC population. Our data indicate an interface between the PDC and T cell lineage. These findings will improve our understanding of phenotypical and functional intricacies concerning the very heterogeneous PDC population in-vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15997
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2011


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