Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 208, Issue 1, pp 39–48 | Cite as

β-Glucan induces autophagy in dendritic cells and influences T-cell differentiation

  • Jun Ding
  • Yongling Ning
  • Yu Bai
  • Ximing Xu
  • Xiao Sun
  • Chunjian QiEmail author
Original Investigation


β-Glucan has been reported to activate dendritic cells (DCs), and activated DCs, subsequently, promote Th1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte priming and differentiation in vitro. However, the mechanism that regulates the immune response of β-glucan-induced DCs has not been thoroughly elucidated to date. Recent studies have drawn attention to a strong relationship between pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMP) recognition and autophagy for the activation of DC function. In this study, we observed that β-glucan induced the expression of a number of autophagy-related genes and the formation of autophagosomes in DCs. To further investigate whether β-glucan-induced DC activation and innate cytokine production are associated with autophagy, we utilized 3-MA to block autophagosome formation and accessed the maturation and function of DCs induced by β-glucan. We found that autophagy-deficient DCs showed downregulated expression of MHC-II and CD80, decreased TNF-α secretion, and reduced production of iNOS upon β-glucan stimulation. Further examination demonstrated that blockade of autophagy in β-glucan-induced DCs significantly attenuated IFN-γ production by co-cultured CD4 + T cells and inhibited the proliferation and differentiation of CD4 + T cells. Thus, these data indicate that autophagy in β-glucan-induced DCs is a crucial mechanism for the maturation of DCs, and it drives innate cytokine production, thereby facilitating adaptive immune responses.


β-Glucan Dendritic cells Autophagy T-cell differentiation 



This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81672799 to C.Q. and 31500731 to Y.N.) and the Changzhou Sci & Tech Program (CJ20160017 to J.D.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author’s declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

430_2018_556_MOESM1_ESM.docx (567 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 566 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Research Center, The Affiliated Changzhou No. 2 People’s HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityChangzhouChina
  2. 2.Oncology Institute, The Affiliated Changzhou No. 2 People’s HospitalNanjing Medical UniversityChangzhouChina
  3. 3.Institute of Bioinformatics and Medical Engineering, School of Electrical and Information EngineeringJiangsu University of TechnologyChangzhouChina

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