Solar disinfection (SODIS) has been shown to reduce the risk associated with the contraction of water borne diseases such as cholera. However, little or no research has been undertaken in exploring the role played by the immune system following the consumption of solar inactivated water pathogens. This study investigated the potential for solar inactivated Vibrio cholerae to induce the maturation of dendritic cells in vitro. Dendritic cells are professional antigen presenting cells found in mammals. However, only in their mature form are dendritic cells able to play their role towards a long lasting immune response. Three strains of V. cholerae were solar irradiated for 7 hours. Thereafter, the solar irradiated, non-solar irradiated, phosphate buffered saline prepared and heat/chemically inactivated cultures of V. cholerae as well as lipopolysaccharide and cholerae toxin-β subunit were used to stimulate immature dendritic cells. After 48 hours, the dendritic cells were assessed for the expression of CD54, CD80, CD83, CD86, MHC-I and MHC-II cell surface markers. Results show that solar inactivated V. cholerae was able to induce maturation of the dendritic cells in vitro. These findings suggest that there may be an immunological benefit in consuming SODIS treated water.

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