Granulocytes as modulators of dendritic cell function

Annelot Breedveld, Tom Groot Kormelink, Marjolein van Egmond, Esther C. de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Effector T cell development is directly driven by APCs, in particular, by antigen-primed dendritic cells (DCs). Depending on the pathogenic stimulus and the microenvironment, DCs induce proliferation and polarization of naive CD4(+) T cells into different effector subsets, such as Th1, Th2, Th17, or regulatory T cells (T-regs). During inflammation, DCs are found in close proximity to other innate immune cells, including all granulocyte subtypes, which potentially influence the immunomodulatory capacities of DCs. Neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils are rapidly recruited into infected tissues where their main function is to eliminate invading pathogens. Mast cells are tissue-resident granulocytes that also contribute to host defense against pathogens but have, thus far, primarily been associated with their detrimental roles in allergic diseases. Although granulocytes have always been considered essential in innate immunity, their ability to influence the development of adaptive immunity has long been overlooked. This view is now changing, as multiple studies showed significant modulating effects of granulocytes on key players of adaptive immunity, including DCs and lymphocytes. Neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and mast cells regulate recruitment and activation of DCs through the release of mediators or via direct cell-cell contact, thereby influencing antigen-specific T cell responses. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge on the impact of granulocytes on DC functioning and the subsequent putative consequences of this cross-talk on T cell proliferation and polarization. Together, this overview underscores the importance of granulocyte-DC communication to establish optimal immune responses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1016
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of leukocyte biology
Issue number4
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Basophil
  • Eosinophil
  • Immune modulation
  • Mast cell
  • Neutrophil

Cite this