Comparative analysis of murine dendritic cells derived from spleen and bone marrow

Ryan C. Fields, John J. Osterholzer, Jennifer A. Fuller, Elaine K. Thomas, Patrick J. Geraghty, James J. Mulé

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40 Scopus citations


In order to improve upon preclinical tumor vaccine strategies that employ dendritic cells (DC), we now have compared short-term cultures of spleen- and GMCSF/IL-4-stimulated bone marrow (BM) to determine if differences exist in phenotype and function of murine DC derived from primary and secondary hematolymphoid organs. Although cultures of BM contained a lower percentage of DC compared to spleen, their capacity to stimulate a primary allogeneic mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR) and to uptake fluorescent dextran was substantially greater. In addition, the overall yields of DC per animal was at least twofold greater from BM compared to spleen. Cultures of BM harvested at day 3, 6, or 9 stimulated comparable levels of primary allo-MLR on a per-cell basis. However, there was a consistent loss (at least twofold) of all cells occurring beyond day 6 as compared with cell yields from earlier time points. Importantly, we also improved on methods to rapidly obtain highly enriched DC (>90%) from BM, which has obviated the reported prior need for complex antibody and complement treatments to remove contaminating mature T and B lymphocytes, la-bearing cells, and granulocytes before DC generation. In contrast, although similar purity of DC with similar phenotype and function could be obtained from the spleen, substantial loss in yield occurred, suggesting a further difference in DC between the two tissue sources. The overall yield of DC derived from spleen and BM cultures could be substantially increased by in vivo pretreatment of the donor animals with recombinant Flt3-L. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that notable differences exist in DC preparations derived from spleen vs. BM and that BM provides the preferred source of DC that can be rapidly enriched to high purity for use in further vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-339
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Immunotherapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998


  • Antigen presenting cells
  • Dendritic cells
  • Immune priming
  • Immunotherapy
  • Vaccine


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