Sympathetic activation leading to the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, is known as an important regulatory circuit related to immune-mediated diseases. However, questions still remain on the behavior of antigen presenting cells (APC) dictated by stress-induced sympathetic neurotransmitters. The purpose of this study was to examine the fate of bone marrow-derived dendritic cell (BMDC)-associated influences on resting CD4+ T cell activation. We hypothesize that pre-exposure of dendritic cells (DCs) can modify the intensity of cytokine production, leading to preference in resting CD4+ T cell activation. BMDCs were pre-treated with epinephrine for 2h followed by subsequent treatment of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Subsequently, BMDCs were cocultured with purified CD4+ T cells from mouse spleen in the absence or presence of anti-CD3 stimulation in epinephrine-free media. Epinephrine pre-treatment enhanced surface expression of MHCII, CD80 and CD86. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that epinephrine pre-treatment induced a significant transcriptional decrease of IL-12p40 and a significant increase of IL-12p35 and IL-23p19. In addition, β2-adrenergic-blockade was shown to reverse these effects. Epinephrine pre-treatment also induced a significant decrease of IL-12p70 and a significant increase of IL-23 and IL-10 cytokine production. Importantly, these changes corresponded with increased IL-4 and IL-17A, but not IFN-g cytokine production by CD4+ T cells in a b2-adrenergic receptor-dependent manner. These results suggest that exposure to stress-derived epinephrine dictates dendritic cells to generate a dominant Th2/Th17 phenotype in the context of subsequent exposure to a pathogenic stimulus.
- CD4 T cells
- Dendritic cells