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Mast cells (MCs) are tissue resident cells, rich in inflammatory mediators, involved in allergic reactions, and with an increasingly recognized role in immunomodulation. Dendritic cells (DCs), on the other hand, are central to the determination of immune response patterns, being highly efficient antigen-presenting cells that respond promptly to changes in their microenvironment. Here, we show that direct cell contact between immature monocyte-derived DCs (iDCs) and MC bends DCs toward tolerance induction. DCs that had direct contact with MC (MC-iDC) decreased HLA-DR but increased PD-L1 expression and stimulated regulatory T lymphocytes, which expresses FoxP3(+), secrete TGF-β and IL-10, and suppress the proliferation of mitogen-stimulated naïve T lymphocytes. Furthermore, MC-iDC expressed higher levels of indoleamine-2,3-deoxigenase (IDO), a phenomenon that was blocked by treatment of MC with anti-PD-1 or by the treatment of DCs with anti-PD-L1 or anti-PD-L2, but not by blocking of H1 and H2 histamine receptors on DCs. Contact with MC also increased phosphorylated STAT-3 levels in iDCs. When a STAT-3 inhibitor, JSI-124, was added to the DCs before contact with MC, the MC-iDC recovered their ability to induce allogeneic T cell proliferation and did not increase their IDO expression.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Immunol

Publication Date





IDO, STAT-3, Tregs, mast cells, tolerogenic DCs