Analysis of the in vivo dendritic cell response to the bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B in the mouse spleen


  • Sik Yoon
  • K. L. Bae
  • J. Y. Shin
  • H. J. Yoo
  • H. W. Lee
  • S. Y. Baek
  • B. S. Kim
  • J. B. Kim
  • H. D. Lee


dendritic cells, staphylococcal enterotoxin B, superantigen, costimulatory molecules, mouse spleen


To investigate the in vivo effects of Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) on dendritic cells (DCs) in the spleen, a single dose of SEB (50 μg/kg) was administered to BALBIc mice by intraperitoneal injection. Afterwards, the mice were sacrificed at 2, 6 and 24 hr, 2, 4, 7 and 15 days, and the spleens were removed. The immunocytochemical characterization of the cells was carried out using various monoclonal antibodies in cryostat-cut sections.

The distribution patterns of DCs and their major costimulatory molecules, CD80, CD86 and CD40 in the spleen were identified, and the evidence for maturation of DCs in vivo in response to SEB was obtained. I t was found that systemic administration of SEB induced the migration of most of the immature, splenic DCs from the marginal zone to the periarterial lymphatic sheath within 6 hr. This movement paralleled a maturation process, as assessed by upregulation of CD40, CD80 and CD86 expression in the interdigitating dendritic cells (IDCs). The upregulation of costimulatory molecule expression was conspicuous only in DCs in contrast to other antigen-presenting cells (APCs) such as macrophages and B cells which did not show any significant alterations in their costimulatory molecule expression. We also demonstrated the temporal expression pattern of these costimulatory molecules on the activated DCs. The upregulation of costimulatory molecules on DCs reached a peak level 6 hr after SEB injection, while the increase in number of T cells expressing T cell receptor V88 reached a peak level on day 2 after SEB treatment.

In conclusion, we demonstrated the in vivo DC response to SEB in the mouse spleen, especially a potent stimulative effect of SEB on DCs in vivo, a temporal distribution pattern of DCs as well as T cells including TCR Vβ8+ T cells, and a differential expression pattern of costimulatory molecules on the activated DCs. The results of the present study indicate that DCs are the principal type of APCs which mediate T cell activation by SAg in vivo, and that each costimulatory molecule may have different role in the activation of DCs by SAg. Thus, it is plausible to speculate that DCs play a critical role in the T cell clonal expansion by SAgs and other SAg-induced immune responses in vivo.