DCs are able to undergo rapid maturation, which subsequently allows them to initiate and orchestrate T cell-driven immune responses. DC maturation must be tightly controlled in order to avoid random T cell activation and development of autoimmunity. Here, we determined that 12/15-lipoxygenase-meditated (12/15-LO-mediated) enzymatic lipid oxidation regulates DC activation and fine-tunes consecutive T cell responses. Specifically, 12/15-LO activity determined the DC activation threshold via generation of phospholipid oxidation products that induced an antioxidative response dependent on the transcription factor NRF2. Deletion of the 12/15-LO-encoding gene or pharmacologic inhibition of 12/15-LO in murine or human DCs accelerated maturation and shifted the cytokine profile, thereby favoring the differentiation of Th17 cells. Exposure of 12/15-LO-deficient DCs to 12/15-LO-derived oxidized phospholipids attenuated both DC activation and the development of Th17 cells. Analysis of lymphatic tissues from 12/15-LO-deficient mice confirmed enhanced maturation of DCs as well as an increased differentiation of Th17 cells. Moreover, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice lacking 12/15-LO resulted in an exacerbated Th17-driven autoimmune disease. Together, our data reveal that 12/15-LO controls maturation of DCs and implicate enzymatic lipid oxidation in shaping the adaptive immune response.
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