Type I Interferons as Regulators of the Differentiation/Activation of Human Dendritic Cells

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Recent studies have revealed that type I interferons (IFNs) are powerful inducers of the differentiation and activation of dendritic cells (DCs). These findings emphasize the importance of these cytokines in linking innate and adaptive immunity, suggesting that effects of type I IFN on DCs can play a role in the antitumor and antiviral activity observed in some IFN-treated patients. Thus, the evaluation of the effects of IFN on the differentiation/activation of DCs has become an important approach for testing novel biologically important IFN activities, and the description of some reference methods are urgently needed. In this chapter, we describe some methods for testing the effects of IFNs on the differentiation and activation of human DCs from the peripheral blood monocytes and for the characterization of the DCs generated after IFN treatment.