The airway mucosal response to allergen in asthma involves influx of activated T helper type 2 cells and eosinophils, transient airflow obstruction, and airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR). The mechanism(s) underlying transient T cell activation during this inflammatory response is unclear. We present evidence that this response is regulated via bidirectional interactions between airway mucosal dendritic cells (AMDC) and T memory cells. After aerosol challenge, resident AMDC acquire antigen and rapidly mature into potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs) after cognate interactions with T memory cells. This process is restricted to dendritic cells (DCs) in the mucosae of the conducting airways, and is not seen in peripheral lung. Within 24 h, antigen-bearing mature DCs disappear from the airway wall, leaving in their wake activated interleukin 2R(+) T cells and AHR. Antigen-bearing activated DCs appear in regional lymph nodes at 24 h, suggesting onward migration from the airway. Transient up-regulation of CD86 on AMDC accompanies this process, which can be reproduced by coculture of resting AMDC with T memory cells plus antigen. The APC activity of AMDC can be partially inhibited by anti-CD86, suggesting that CD86 may play an active role in this process and/or is a surrogate for other relevant costimulators. These findings provide a plausible model for local T cell activation at the lesional site in asthma, and for the transient nature of this inflammatory response.
Huh, J. C., Strickland, D. H., Jahnsen, F. L., Turner, D., Thomas, J. A., Napoli, S., ... Holt, P. (2003). Bidirectional interactions between antigen-bearing respiratory tract dendritic cells (DCs) and T cells precede the late phase reaction in experimental asthma : DC activation occurs in the airway mucosa but not in the lung parenchyma. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 198(1), 19-30. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20021328