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airway, dendritic cell, endotoxin free ovalbumin, influenza virus, immunoregulation, interferon production, T lymphocyte, virus cell interaction


We evaluated the proposal that during microbial infection, dendritic cells (DCs) undergo maturation and present a mixture of peptides derived from the microbe as well as harmless environmental antigens. Mice were exposed to an aerosol of endotoxin free ovalbumin (OVA) in the absence or presence of influenza virus. In its absence, OVA failed to induce B and T cell responses and even tolerized, but with influenza, OVA-specific antibodies and CD8+ cytolytic T lymphocytes developed. With or without infection, OVA was presented selectively in the draining mediastinal lymph nodes, as assessed by the comparable proliferation of infused, CD8+ and CD4+, TCR transgenic T cells. In the absence of influenza, these OVA-specific T cells produced little IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and IFN-γ, but with infection, both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells made high levels of IL-2 and IFN-γ. The OVA plus influenza-treated mice also showed accelerated recovery to a challenge with recombinant vaccinia OVA virus. CD11c+ DCs from the mediastinal lymph nodes of infected mice selectively stimulated both OVA- and influenza-specific T cells and underwent maturation, with higher levels of MHC class II, CD80, and CD86 molecules. The relatively slow (2-3 d) kinetics of maturation correlated closely to the time at which OVA inhalation elicited specific antibodies. Therefore respiratory infection can induce DC maturation and simultaneously B and T cell immunity to an innocuous antigen inhaled concurrently.


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