Immunofluorescent staining and flow cytometric analysis of dendritic cells from cattle afferent lymph has established that within the afferent lymph veiled cells (ALVC) there are two phenotypically distinct, major populations. One is CD11a+, CD5+, CD21- and expresses the bovine WC10 (workshop cluster 10) molecule and the Ag recognized by mAb CC81 but is not recognized by mAbs CC149 and IL-A24. The second ALVC subpopulation is CD11a-, CD5-, CD21+/-, workshop cluster 10- and is not recognized by mAb CC81 but is recognized by mAb CC149. Thus, the two populations, which can be identified by staining for CD11a, are defined by the differential expression of a number of Ag. The ALVC populations had differing capacities to stimulate T cells. CD11a- ALVC were more effective at stimulating proliferative responses in allogeneic CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. This was not related to binding of CTLA4Ig or CD40L fusion proteins, implying similar levels of expression of their ligands, CD80 and CD86 or CD40. Both subsets were able to present OVA to resting memory CD4+ T cells, indicating that both were able to take up and process soluble native protein. In contrast, the CD11a- ALVC were more effective in presenting respiratory syncytial virus Ag to resting CD4+ T cells. Considering the central role of dendritic cells in the initiation of immune responses in naive animals, the two cell types may have different roles in the induction of primary responses induced following infection or immunization.

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