Lymph node stromal cells support the maturation of pre-DCs into cDC-like cells via colony-stimulating factor 1

Wiechers, C., Pezoldt, J., Beckstette, M., Berner, J., Schraml, B.U., Huehn, J. (2022). Immunology.



Conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) arise from committed precursor dendritic cells (pre-DCs) in the bone marrow that continuously seed the periphery. Pre-DCs and other upstream progenitors proliferate and mature in response to Fms-related receptor tyrosine kinase 3 ligand, which is considered the key cytokine for cDC development. However, other cytokines such as stem cell factor and colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) were also shown to induce pre-DC maturation into DC-like cells. Yet, it is still only incompletely understood which cells contribute to cDC development once pre-DCs arrive in peripheral tissues. Here, we analysed the impact of lymph node (LN) fibroblastic stromal cells (FSCs) on the maturation of pre-DCs into cDC-like cells. We could demonstrate that ex vivo isolated LN FSCs co-cultured with pre-DCs induce precursor maturation into DC-like cells, which were capable of efficiently promoting the proliferation of naïve CD4+ T cells. Interestingly, FSCs isolated from distinct LNs induced DC-like cells with highly comparable transcriptomes, characterized by the expression of signature genes of both ex vivo isolated DCs and macrophages. Finally, by performing supplementation and receptor blocking studies, we could demonstrate that CSF1 is a driving factor for LN FSC-mediated pre-DC maturation into DC-like cells. In summary, we could identify CSF1 as a stromal cell-derived factor that has the potential to support the maturation of pre-DCs into cDC-like cells within secondary lymphoid organs.