Antimicrobial peptide LL-37 internalized by immature human dendritic cells alters their phenotype

L. Bandholtz, G. Jacobsson Ekman*, M. Vilhelmsson, E. Buentke, B. Agerberth, A. Scheynius, G. H. Gudmundsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The human cathelicidin LL-37 has been shown to be involved in the barrier function of the innate immunity, being released from specific cells upon challenge and exerting immunomodulatory effects. We here demonstrate that LL-37 affects immature dendritic cells, derived from human peripheral blood monocytes (MDDC). LL-37 is internalized by MDDC with subsequent localization primarily in the cytoplasmic compartment. However, LL-37 could also be detected in the nuclei of MDDC, suggesting that LL-37 may be transported into the nucleus. The uptake of LL-37 is dose, time and energy dependent, indicating that the observed internalization process involves an endocytic pathway. Incubation of immature MDDC with LL-37 caused phenotypic changes, characterized by an increased expression of the antigen-presenting molecule HLA-DR, and the costimulatory molecule CD86. Taken together, these findings suggest that LL-37 released upon triggering of the innate immunity, may affect cellular adaptive immunity through an interaction with immature dendritic cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


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