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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 6269157, 15 pages
Review Article

Breakdown of Immune Tolerance in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus by Dendritic Cells

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA

Received 23 October 2015; Revised 15 January 2016; Accepted 7 February 2016

Academic Editor: Christine Trumpfheller

Copyright © 2016 Xiaofeng Liao et al. 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.


Dendritic cells (DC) play an important role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease with multiple tissue manifestations. In this review, we summarize recent studies on the roles of conventional DC and plasmacytoid DC in the development of both murine lupus and human SLE. In the past decade, studies using selective DC depletions have demonstrated critical roles of DC in lupus progression. Comprehensive in vitro and in vivo studies suggest activation of DC by self-antigens in lupus pathogenesis, followed by breakdown of immune tolerance to self. Potential treatment strategies targeting DC have been developed. However, many questions remain regarding the mechanisms by which DC modulate lupus pathogenesis that require further investigations.