Environmental cues received during development shape dendritic cell responses later in life.

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    • Abstract:
      Environmental signals mediated via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) shape the developing immune system and influence immune function. Developmental exposure to AHR binding chemicals causes persistent changes in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses later in life, including dampened clonal expansion and differentiation during influenza A virus (IAV) infection. Naïve T cells require activation by dendritic cells (DCs), and AHR ligands modulate the function of DCs from adult organisms. Yet, the consequences of developmental AHR activation by exogenous ligands on DCs later in life has not been examined. We report here that early life activation of AHR durably reduces the ability of DC to activate naïve IAV-specific CD8+ T cells; however, activation of naïve CD4+ T cells was not impaired. Also, DCs from developmentally exposed offspring migrated more poorly than DCs from control dams in both in vivo and ex vivo assessments of DC migration. Conditional knockout mice, which lack Ahr in CD11c lineage cells, suggest that dampened DC emigration is intrinsic to DCs. Yet, levels of chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7), a key regulator of DC trafficking, were generally unaffected. Gene expression analyses reveal changes in Lrp1, Itgam, and Fcgr1 expression, and point to alterations in genes that regulate DC migration and antigen processing and presentation as being among pathways disrupted by inappropriate AHR signaling during development. These studies establish that AHR activation during development causes long-lasting changes to DCs, and provide new information regarding how early life environmental cues shape immune function later in life. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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