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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2013, Article ID 789814, 6 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Potential of Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells in IBD: From Animal Models to Clinical Application

1Fundació Clinic, Hospital Clínic i Provincial and Centre Esther Koplowitz, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Experimental Gastroenterology, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Hospital Clínic i Provincial and Centre Esther Koplowitz, Carrer Roselló 149-153, 08036 Barcelona, Spain

Received 26 July 2013; Accepted 27 September 2013

Academic Editor: Lenin Pavón

Copyright © 2013 Raquel Cabezón and Daniel Benítez-Ribas. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The gut mucosa undergoes continuous antigenic exposure from food antigens, commensal flora derived ligands, and pathogens. This constant stimulation results in controlled inflammatory responses that are effectively suppressed by multiple factors. This tight regulation, necessary to maintain intestinal homeostasis, is affected during inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) resulting in altered immune responses to harmless microorganisms. Dendritic cells (DCs) are sentinels of immunity, located in peripheral and lymphoid tissues, which are essential for homeostasis of T cell-dependent immune responses. The expression of a particular set of pathogen recognition receptors allows DCs to initiate immune responses. However, in the absence of danger signals, different DC subsets can induce active tolerance by inducing regulatory T cells (Treg), inhibiting inflammatory T helper cell responses, or both. Interestingly, several protocols to generate clinical grade tolerogenic DC (tol-DCs) in vitro have been described, opening the possibility to restore the intestinal homeostasis to bacterial flora by cellular therapy. In this review, we discuss different DC subsets and their role in IBD. Additionally, we will review preclinical studies performed in animal models while describing recent characterization of tol-DCs from Crohn’s disease patients for clinical application.