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Stem Cells InternationalVolume 2011 2011, Article ID 539896, 7 pages

Review Article

Clinical Hematology Department, Coimbra University Hospitals, Coimbra, Portugal

Histocompatibility Center of Coimbra, 3000-075 Coimbra, Portugal

Received 16 January 2011; Accepted 29 March 2011

Academic Editor: Tsunehiko Komatsu

Copyright © 2011 Marta Isabel Pereira and Artur Paiva. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dendritic cells DCs are a heterogeneous population of antigen-presenting cells derived from hematopoietic progenitors that bridge the transition between the innate and adaptive immune responses, while maintaining self-tolerance and Th1-Th2 homeostasis, by priming other cells in either an immunogenic or tolerogenic direction. Through their role in both innate and adaptive immunity, DCs play a major part in transplant engraftment and rejection and in graft-versus-host disease GvHD. Preferentially tolerogenic or immunogenic DC subtypes offer targets for immunotherapy, to optimize transplant success rates and prolong disease-free and overall survival. Cord blood DCs are immature and preferentially tolerogenic, due to maternal-fetal tolerance, leading to better graft acceptance and immune reconstitution and explaining the lower incidence and severity of GvHD in CB transplantation, despite donor-host mismatching. Manipulation of DC maturation and cell loading with tumor-antigens can direct antitumor immunity and target minimal residual disease, as demonstrated for acute myeloid leukemia, optimizing the graft-versus-leukemia effect.

Author: Marta Isabel Pereira and Artur Paiva



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