Dendritic cells (DCs) represent a small and heterogeneous fraction of the hematopoietic system, specialized in antigen capture, processing, and presentation. The different DC subsets act as sentinels throughout the body and perform a key role in the induction of immunogenic as well as tolerogenic immune responses. Because of their limited lifespan, continuous replenishment of DC is required. Whereas the importance of GM-CSF in regulating DC homeostasis has long been underestimated, this cytokine is currently considered a critical factor for DC development under both steady-state and inflammatory conditions. Regulation of cellular actions by GM-CSF depends on the activation of intracellular signaling modules, including JAK/STAT, MAPK, PI3K, and canonical NF-κB. By directing the activity of transcription factors and other cellular effector proteins, these pathways influence differentiation, survival and/or proliferation of uncommitted hematopoietic progenitors, and DC subset-specific precursors, thereby contributing to specific aspects of DC subset development. The specific intracellular events resulting from GM-CSF-induced signaling provide a molecular explanation for GM-CSF-dependent subset distribution as well as clues to the specific characteristics and functions of GM-CSF-differentiated DCs compared with DCs generated by fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 ligand. This knowledge can be used to identify therapeutic targets to improve GM-CSF-dependent DC-based strategies to regulate immunity.,
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

van de Laar, L, Coffer, P.J, & Woltman, A.M. (2012). Regulation of dendritic cell development by GM-CSF: Molecular control and implications for immune homeostasis and therapy. Blood (Vol. 119, pp. 3383–3393). doi:10.1182/blood-2011-11-370130