- Tolerogenic IL-10–positive CCR7-positive dendritic cells (DC) promote T regulatory (Treg) cell differentiation upon CCR7-dependent migration to draining lymph nodes (DLN). Indeed, in human DC deficiencies, Treg levels are low. α-1 antitrypsin (AAT) has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers, promote a semimature LPS-induced DC phenotype, facilitate Treg expansion, and protect pancreatic islets from alloimmune and autoimmune responses in mice. However, the mechanism behind these activities of AAT is poorly understood. In this study, we examine interactions among DC, CD4+ T cells, and AAT in vitro and in vivo. IL-1β/IFN-γ–mediated DC maturation and effect on Treg development were examined using OT-II cells and human AAT (0.5 mg/ml). CCL19/21-dependent migration of isolated DC and resident islet DC was assessed, and CCR7 surface levels were examined. Migration toward DLN was evaluated by FITC skin painting, transgenic GFP skin tissue grafting, and footpad DC injection. AAT-treated stimulated DC displayed reduced MHC class II, CD40, CD86, and IL-6, but produced more IL-10 and maintained inducible CCR7. Upon exposure of CD4+ T cells to OVA-loaded AAT-treated DC, 2.7-fold more Foxp3+ Treg cells were obtained. AAT-treated cells displayed enhanced chemokine-dependent migration and low surface CD40. Under AAT treatment (60 mg/kg), DLN contained twice more fluorescence after FITC skin painting and twice more donor DC after footpad injection, whereas migrating DC expressed less CD40, MHC class II, and CD86. Intracellular DC IL-10 was 2-fold higher in the AAT group. Taken together, these results suggest that inducible functional CCR7 is maintained during AAT-mediated anti-inflammatory conditions. Further studies are required to elucidate the mechanism behind the favorable tolerogenic activities of AAT.