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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Immunoregulatory effects of AFP domains on monocyte-derived dendritic cell function

Agus Setiyono*, Akterono D Budiyati, Sigit Purwantomo, Madonna R Anggelia, Ismail Fanany, Gunawan A Wibowo, Indra Bachtiar, Andi Utama and Susan Tai

Author Affiliations

Mochtar Riady Institute for Nanotechnology, Tangerang 15810, Indonesia

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BMC Immunology 2011, 12:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-12-4

Published: 17 January 2011



Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a tumor-associated glycoprotein that functions in regulation of both ontogenic and oncogenic growth. Recent study showed that AFP can induce apoptosis or impair monocyte-derived dendritic cell (MDDC) function. However, it is still unclear which AFP domain (D-AFP) plays major role in this function.


As expected monocytes cultured in the presence of Granulocyte Macrophage-Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF) and Interleukin-4 (IL-4) developed into MDDC. Up-regulation of HLA-DR and CD11c as well as loss of CD14 molecules could be observed. Full length AFP (FL-AFP), domain 2 AFP (D2-AFP) and D3-AFP, but not D1-AFP, significantly inhibited the expression of HLA-DRhigh/CD11chigh and CD80+/CD86high molecules. In contrast, CD83 expression was substantially down-regulated in all samples. Expression of CD40 was significantly suppressed by FL-AFP but not by any D-AFPs. Finally, both FL-AFP and D-AFP impaired the MDDC ability to secrete IL-12 (p70).


D2- and D3- but not D1-AFP extensively suppresses the MDDC function. All the recombinant AFP proteins impaired the ability of MDDC to secrete IL-12.