The aim of this study was to develop an immunization procedure avoiding external adjuvant. Data are presented showing that syngeneic dendritic cells (DC), which have been pulsed in vitro with antigen, induce a strong antibody response in mice. By contrast, antigen (Ag)-pulsed low-density B cells, although equally able to induce interleukin 2 secretion by an Ag-specific T cell hybridoma in vitro, only weakly prime the mice in vivo. Moreover, we show that the injection of Ag-pulsed DC induces the synthesis of isotypes similar to the immunoglobulin classes detected after immunization with the same Ag in complete Freund's adjuvant. Importantly, high amounts of IgG2a antibodies are produced, suggesting that T helper type 1 cells are activated. Collectively, these data indicate that DC can initiate a primary humoral response and that they may be used as physiological adjuvant in vivo.

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