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1.  Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Induces Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Expression in Human Monocyte-Derived Macrophages through p38/Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase and NF-κB Pathways: Impairment in T Cell Functions 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(12):6660-6671.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection has been observed in tumor-infiltrated macrophages, but its infection effects on macrophage immune functions are poorly understood. Here, we showed that some macrophages in the tumor stroma of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) tissue expressed the immunosuppressive protein indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) more strongly than did tumor cells. EBV infection induced mRNA, protein, and enzymatic activity of IDO in human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). Infection increased the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), whereas the neutralizing antibodies against TNF-α and IL-6 inhibited IDO induction. EBV infection also activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) p38 and NF-κB, and the inhibition of these two pathways with SB202190 and SN50 almost abrogated TNF-α and IL-6 production and inhibited IDO production. Moreover, the activation of IDO in response to EBV infection of MDMs suppressed the proliferation of T cells and impaired the cytotoxic activity of CD8+ T cells, whereas the inhibition of IDO activity with 1-methyl-l-tryptophan (1-MT) did not affect T cell proliferation and function. These findings indicate that EBV-induced IDO expression in MDMs is substantially mediated by IL-6- and TNF-α-dependent mechanisms via the p38/MAPK and NF-κB pathways, suggesting that a possible role of EBV-mediated IDO expression in tumor stroma of NPC may be to create a microenvironment of suppressed T cell immune responses.
IMPORTANCE CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play an important role in the control of viral infections and destroy tumor cells. Activation of the tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in cancer tissues facilitates immune escape by the impairment of CTL functions. IDO expression was observed in some macrophages of the tumor stroma of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) tissue, and IDO could be induced in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected human monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs). NPC cells and macrophages have been found to produce IDO in a gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-dependent manner. Instead, EBV-induced IDO expression in MDMs is substantially mediated by IL-6- and TNF-α-dependent mechanisms via the p38/MAPK and NF-κB pathways, which suppressed the proliferation of T cells and impaired the cytotoxic activity of CD8+ T cells. This finding provides a new interpretation of the mechanism of immune escape of EBV and shows the immunosuppressive role of EBV-mediated IDO expression in tumor stroma of NPC.
PMCID: PMC4054364  PMID: 24696473
2.  Targeting of Interferon-Beta to Produce a Specific, Multi-Mechanistic Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e353.
Oncolytic viruses hold much promise for clinical treatment of many cancers, but a lack of systemic delivery and insufficient tumor cell killing have limited their usefulness. We have previously demonstrated that vaccinia virus strains are capable of systemic delivery to tumors in mouse models, but infection of normal tissues remains an issue. We hypothesized that interferon-beta (IFN-β) expression from an oncolytic vaccinia strain incapable of responding to this cytokine would have dual benefits as a cancer therapeutic: increased anticancer effects and enhanced virus inactivation in normal tissues. We report the construction and preclinical testing of this virus.
Methods and Findings
In vitro screening of viral strains by cytotoxicity and replication assay was coupled to cellular characterization by phospho-flow cytometry in order to select a novel oncolytic vaccinia virus. This virus was then examined in vivo in mouse models by non-invasive imaging techniques. A vaccinia B18R deletion mutant was selected as the backbone for IFN-β expression, because the B18R gene product neutralizes secreted type-I IFNs. The oncolytic B18R deletion mutant demonstrated IFN-dependent cancer selectivity and efficacy in vitro, and tumor targeting and efficacy in mouse models in vivo. Both tumor cells and tumor-associated vascular endothelial cells were targeted. Complete tumor responses in preclinical models were accompanied by immune-mediated protection against tumor rechallenge. Cancer selectivity was also demonstrated in primary human tumor explant tissues and adjacent normal tissues. The IFN-β gene was then cloned into the thymidine kinase (TK) region of this virus to create JX-795 (TK−/B18R−/IFN-β+). JX-795 had superior tumor selectivity and systemic intravenous efficacy when compared with the TK−/B18R− control or wild-type vaccinia in preclinical models.
By combining IFN-dependent cancer selectivity with IFN-β expression to optimize both anticancer effects and normal tissue antiviral effects, we were able to achieve, to our knowledge for the first time, tumor-specific replication, IFN-β gene expression, and efficacy following systemic delivery in preclinical models.
Stephen Thorne and colleagues describe, in a mouse model, an oncolytic vaccinia virus with interferon-dependent cancer selectivity that allows tumor-specific replication; it also expresses the IFN-β gene and hence has efficacy against tumors.
Editors' Summary
Normally, throughout life, cell division (which produces new cells) and cell death are carefully balanced to keep the body in good working order. But sometimes cells acquire changes (mutations) in their genetic material that allow them to divide uncontrollably to form cancers—disorganized masses of cells. Cancers can develop anywhere in the body and, as they develop, their cells acquire other genetic changes that enable them to move and start new tumors (metastases) elsewhere. Chemotherapy drugs kill rapidly dividing cancer cells but, because some normal cells are also sensitive to these drugs, it is hard to destroy the cancer without causing serious side effects. Consequently, researchers are trying to develop “targeted” therapies that attack the changes in cancer cells that allow them to divide uncontrollably but leave normal cells unscathed. One promising class of targeted therapies is oncolytic viruses. These viruses make numerous copies of themselves inside cancer cells (but not inside normal cells). Eventually the cancer cell bursts open (lyses), releases more of the therapeutic agent, and dies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Existing oncolytic viruses have two major disadvantages: they have to be injected directly into tumors, and therefore they can't destroy distant metastases; and they don't kill cancer cells particularly efficiently. In this study, the researchers have tried to adapt vaccinia virus (a virus that infects humans and which has recently been shown to kill tumor cells when injected into the bloodstream) in two ways: to both infect cancer cells selectively and then to kill them effectively.
They hypothesized that putting a gene that causes expression of a protein called interferon-beta (IFN-β) in a particular virus strain that is itself incapable of responding to IFN-β might achieve these aims. Human cells infected with viruses usually release IFNs, which induce an antiviral state in nearby cells. But vaccinia virus makes anti-IFN proteins that prevent IFN release. If the viral genes that encode these proteins are removed from the virus, the virus cannot spread through normal cells. However, many cancer cells have defective IFN signaling pathways so the virus can spread through them. IFN-β expression by the virus, however, should improve its innate anticancer effects because IFN-β stops cancer cells dividing, induces an antitumor immune response, and stops tumors developing good blood supplies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected a vaccinia virus strain called WR-delB18R in which the B18R gene, which encodes an anti-IFN protein, had been removed from the virus. (WR is a wild-type virus.) In laboratory experiments, IFN treatment blocked the spread of WR-delB18R in normal human cells but not in human tumor cells. After being injected into the veins of tumor-bearing mice, WR-delB18R was rapidly cleared from normal tissues but persisted in the tumors. A single injection of WR-delB18R directly into the tumor killed most of the tumor cells. A similar dose injected into a vein was less effective but nevertheless increased the survival time of some of the mice by directly killing the tumor cells, by targeting the blood supply of the tumors, and by inducing antitumor immunity. Finally, when the researchers inserted the IFN-β gene into this WR-delB18R, the new virus—JX-795—was much better at killing tumors after intravenous injection than either WR or WR-delB18R.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the vaccinia virus can be adapted so that it replicates only in tumor cells and kills these cells effectively after intravenous injection. In particular, they show that the strategy adopted by the researchers both optimizes the anticancer effects of the virus and minimizes viral replication in normal tissues. JX-795 is a promising oncolytic virus, therefore, particularly since vaccinia virus has been safely used for many years to vaccinate people against smallpox. Nevertheless, it will be some years before JX-795 can be used clinically. Vaccinia virus constructs like this need to be tested extensively in the laboratory and in animals before any attempt is made to test them in people and, even if they passes all these preclinical tests with flying colors, only clinical trials will reveal whether they can treat human cancer. Several related strains of vaccinia virus are currently undergoing clinical testing.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on all aspects of cancer (in English and Spanish)
CancerQuest, from Emory University, provides information on all aspects of cancer (in several languages)
The UK charity Cancerbackup also provides information on all aspects of cancer
Wikipedia has a page on oncolytic viruses (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
A short interview about oncolytic viruses with researcher Dr. John Bell is available on the Insidermedicine Web site
The Oncolytic virus Web page provides lists of oncolytic viruses classified by type
PMCID: PMC2222946  PMID: 18162040
3.  Immunological and Nonimmunological Effects of Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase on Breast Tumor Growth and Spontaneous Metastasis Formation 
The role of the tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1), in tumor escape and metastasis formation was analyzed using two pairs of Ido1+ and Ido1− murine breast cancer cell lines. Ido1 expression in 4T1 cells was knocked down by shRNA, and Ido1 expression in NT-5 cells was upregulated by stable transfection. Growth of Ido1− tumors and spontaneous metastasis formation were inhibited in immunocompetent mice. A higher level of cytotoxic T lymphocytes was generated by spleen cells from mice bearing Ido1− tumors than Ido1+ tumors. Tumor and metastatic growth was enhanced in immunodeficient mice, confirming an intensified immune response in the absence of Ido1 expression. However, Ido1+ tumors grow faster than Ido1− tumors in immunodeficient SCID/beige mice (lacking T, B, and NK cells) suggesting that some Ido1-controlled nonimmunological mechanisms may be involved in tumor cell growth regulation. In vitro experiments demonstrated that downregulation of Ido1 in tumor cells was associated with decreased cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and changed expression of cell cycle regulatory genes, whereas upregulation of Ido1 in the cells had the opposite effects. Taken together, our findings indicate that Ido1 expression could exert immunological and nonimmunological effects in murine breast tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3359678  PMID: 22654951
4.  IDO expression in brain tumors increases the recruitment of regulatory T cells and negatively impacts survival 
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive adult brain tumor with a poor prognosis. One hallmark of GBM is the accumulation of immunosuppressive and tumor-promoting CD4+FoxP3+GITR+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). Here, we investigated the role of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) in brain tumors and the impact on Treg recruitment.
Experimental Design
To determine the clinical relevance of IDO expression in brain tumors, we first correlated patient survival to the level of IDO expression from resected glioma specimens. We also used novel orthotopic and transgenic models of glioma to study how IDO affects Tregs. The impact of tumor-derived and peripheral IDO expression on Treg recruitment, GITR expression and long-term survival was determined.
Downregulated IDO expression in glioma predicted a significantly better prognosis in patients. Co-incidently, both IDO -competent and -deficient mice showed a survival advantage bearing IDO-deficient brain tumors, when compared to IDO-competent brain tumors. Moreover, IDO-deficiency was associated with a significant decrease in brain-resident Tregs, both in orthotopic and transgenic mouse glioma models. IDO-deficiency was also associated with lower GITR expression levels on Tregs. Interestingly, the long-term survival advantage conferred by IDO-deficiency was lost in T cell-deficient mice.
These clinical and pre-clinical data confirm that IDO expression increases the recruitment of immunosuppressive Tregs which leads to tumor outgrowth. In contrast, IDO deficiency decreases Treg recruitment and enhances T cell-mediated tumor rejection. Thus, the data suggest a critical role for IDO-mediated immunosuppression in glioma and supports the continued investigation of IDO-Treg interactions in the context of brain tumors.
PMCID: PMC3500434  PMID: 22932670
immunosuppression; tryptophan; glioblastoma; metabolism; immunotherapy
5.  The indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase pathway controls complement-dependent enhancement of chemo-radiation therapy against murine glioblastoma 
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an enzyme with immune-suppressive properties that is commonly exploited by tumors to evade immune destruction. Anti-tumor T cell responses can be initiated in solid tumors, but are immediately suppressed by compensatory upregulation of immunological checkpoints, including IDO. In addition to these known effects on the adaptive immune system, we previously showed widespread, T cell-dependent complement deposition during allogeneic fetal rejection upon maternal treatment with IDO-blockade. We hypothesized that IDO protects glioblastoma from the full effects of chemo-radiation therapy by preventing vascular activation and complement-dependent tumor destruction.
To test this hypothesis, we utilized a syngeneic orthotopic glioblastoma model in which GL261 glioblastoma tumor cells were stereotactically implanted into the right frontal lobes of syngeneic mice. These mice were treated with IDO-blocking drugs in combination with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Pharmacologic inhibition of IDO synergized with chemo-radiation therapy to prolong survival in mice bearing intracranial glioblastoma tumors. We now show that pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of IDO allowed chemo-radiation to trigger widespread complement deposition at sites of tumor growth. Chemotherapy treatment alone resulted in collections of perivascular leukocytes within tumors, but no complement deposition. Adding IDO-blockade led to upregulation of VCAM-1 on vascular endothelium within the tumor microenvironment, and further adding radiation in the presence of IDO-blockade led to widespread deposition of complement. Mice genetically deficient in complement component C3 lost all of the synergistic effects of IDO-blockade on chemo-radiation-induced survival.
Together these findings identify a novel mechanistic link between IDO and complement, and implicate complement as a major downstream effector mechanism for the beneficial effect of IDO-blockade after chemo-radiation therapy. We speculate that this represents a fundamental pathway by which the tumor regulates intratumoral vascular activation and protects itself from immune-mediated tumor destruction.
PMCID: PMC4105871  PMID: 25054064
IDO; Indoleamine; Complement; Tumor; Immunotherapy; Chemotherapy; Radiation therapy; Indoximod; Glioblastoma; NLG919
6.  Induction and Role of Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase in Mouse Models of Influenza A Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66546.
Influenza infection stimulates protective host immune responses but paradoxically enhances lung indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) activity, an enzyme that suppresses helper/effector T cells and activates Foxp3-lineage regulatory CD4 T cells (Tregs). Influenza A/PR/8/34 (PR8) infection stimulated rapid elevation of IDO activity in lungs and lung-draining mediastinal lymph nodes (msLNs). Mice lacking intact IDO1 genes (IDO1-KO mice) exhibited significantly lower morbidity after sub-lethal PR8 infection, and genetic or pharmacologic IDO ablation led to much faster recovery after virus clearance. More robust influenza-specific effector CD8 T cell responses manifested in lungs of PR8-infected IDO1-KO mice, though virus clearance rates were unaffected by IDO ablation. Similar outcomes manifested in mice infected with a less virulent influenza A strain (X31). IDO induction in X31-infected lungs was dependent on IFN type II (IFNγ) signaling and was restricted to non-hematopoietic cells, while redundant IFN type 1 or type II signaling induced IDO exclusively in hematopoietic cells from msLNs. Memory T cells generated in X31-primed IDO1-KO mice protected mice from subsequent challenge with lethal doses of PR8 (100×LD50). However recall T cell responses were less robust in lung interstitial tissues, and classic dominance of TCR Vβ8.3 chain usage amongst memory CD8+ T cells specific for influenza nucleoprotein (NP366) did not manifest in IDO1-KO mice. Thus, influenza induced IDO activity in lungs enhanced morbidity, slowed recovery, restrained effector T cell responses in lungs and shaped memory T cell repertoire generation, but did not attenuate virus clearance during primary influenza A infection.
PMCID: PMC3681773  PMID: 23785507
7.  Astrocyte Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Is Induced by the TLR3 Ligand Poly(I:C): Mechanism of Induction and Role in Antiviral Response▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(18):9838-9850.
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is the first and rate-limiting enzyme in the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan catabolism and has been implicated in neurotoxicity and suppression of the antiviral T-cell response in HIV encephalitis (HIVE). Here we show that the Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) ligand poly(I:C) (PIC) induces the expression of IDO in human astrocytes. PIC was less potent than gamma interferon (IFN-γ) but more potent than IFN-β in inducing IDO. PIC induction of IDO was mediated in part by IFN-β but not IFN-γ, and both NF-κB and interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) were required. PIC also upregulated TLR3, thereby augmenting the primary (IFN-β) and secondary (IDO and viperin) response genes upon subsequent stimulation with PIC. In HIVE, the transcripts for TLR3, IFN-β, IDO, and viperin were increased and IDO immunoreactivity was detected in reactive astrocytes as well as macrophages and microglia. PIC caused suppression of intracellular replication of human immunodeficiency virus pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus G protein and human cytomegalovirus in a manner dependent on IRF3 and IDO. The involvement of IDO was demonstrated by partial but significant reversal of the PIC-mediated antiviral effect by IDO RNA interference and/or tryptophan supplementation. Importantly, the cytokine interleukin-1 abolished IFN-γ-induced IDO enzyme activity in a nitric oxide-dependent manner without suppressing protein expression. Our results demonstrate that IDO is an innate antiviral protein induced by double-stranded RNA and suggest a therapeutic utility for PIC in human viral infections. They also show that IDO activity can be dissociated from protein expression, indicating that the local central nervous system cytokine and nitric oxide environment determines IDO function.
PMCID: PMC2045380  PMID: 17626075
8.  Oncolytic herpes simplex virus-based strategies: toward a breakthrough in glioblastoma therapy 
Oncolytic viruses (OV) are a class of antitumor agents that selectively kill tumor cells while sparing normal cells. Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) has been investigated in clinical trials for patients with the malignant brain tumor glioblastoma for more than a decade. These clinical studies have shown the safety of oHSV administration to the human brain, however, therapeutic efficacy of oHSV as a single treatment remains unsatisfactory. Factors that could hamper the anti-glioblastoma efficacy of oHSV include: attenuated potency of oHSV due to deletion or mutation of viral genes involved in virulence, restricting viral replication and spread within the tumor; suboptimal oHSV delivery associated with intratumoral injection; virus infection-induced inflammatory and cellular immune responses which could inhibit oHSV replication and promote its clearance; lack of effective incorporation of oHSV into standard-of-care, and poor knowledge about the ability of oHSV to target glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). In an attempt to address these issues, recent research efforts have been directed at: (1) design of new engineered viruses to enhance potency, (2) better understanding of the role of the cellular immunity elicited by oHSV infection of tumors, (3) combinatorial strategies with different antitumor agents with a mechanistic rationale, (4) “armed” viruses expressing therapeutic transgenes, (5) use of GSC-derived models in oHSV evaluation, and (6) combinations of these. In this review, we will describe the current status of oHSV clinical trials for glioblastoma, and discuss recent research advances and future directions toward successful oHSV-based therapy of glioblastoma.
PMCID: PMC4064532  PMID: 24999342
glioblastoma; oncolytic virus; herpes simplex virus type 1; gene therapy; glioblastoma stem cells; combination therapy; synergy; molecular targeted therapy
9.  Activation of Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase in Patients with Scrub Typhus and Its Role in Growth Restriction of Orientia tsutsugamushi 
Our earlier genome-wide expression study revealed up-regulation of a tryptophan-catabolizing enzyme, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1), in patients with scrub typhus. This gene has been previously reported to have anti-microbial activity in a variety of infectious diseases; therefore, we aimed to prove whether it is also involved in host defense against Orientia tsutsugamushi (OT) infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using LC-MS, we observed an increased ratio of serum L-kynurenine to serum L-tryptophan in patients with scrub typhus, which suggests an active catalytic function of this enzyme upon the illness. To evaluate the effect of IDO1 activation on OT infection, a human macrophage-like cell line THP-1 was used as a study model. Although transcription of IDO1 was induced by OT infection, its functional activity was not significantly enhanced unless the cells were pretreated with IFN-γ, a potent inducer of IDO1. When the degree of infection was evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR, the relative number of OT 47 kDa gene per host genes, or infection index, was markedly reduced by IFN-γ treatment as compared to the untreated cultures at five days post-infection. Inhibition of IDO1 activity in IFN-γ treated cultures by 1-methyl-L-tryptophan, a competitive inhibitor of IDO1, resulted in partial restoration of infection index; while excessive supplementation of L-tryptophan in IFN-γ treated cultures raised the index to an even higher level than that of the untreated ones. Altogether, these data implied that IDO1 was partly involved in restriction of OT growth caused by IFN-γ through deprivation of tryptophan.
Activation of IDO1 appeared to be a defensive mechanism downstream of IFN-γ that limited intracellular expansion of OT via tryptophan depletion. Our work provided not only the first link of in vivo activation of IDO1 and IFN-γ-mediated protection against OT infection but also highlighted the promise of this multifaceted gene in scrub typhus research.
Author Summary
Scrub typhus is a potentially life-threatening infectious disease that is a major cause of acute undifferentiated fever in Asia-Pacific region. It is caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi (OT), an obligatory intracellular gram-negative bacterium in family rickettsiaceae. Earlier studies have shown that IFN-γ is essential in protection against OT infection in animals and cell-based models, but molecular mechanisms underlying such phenomenon remain largely unclear. In the present study, we are the first to demonstrate that activation of IDO1, a key enzyme in tryptophan-degrading pathway, is a mechanism downstream to IFN-γ in control of OT infection. IDO1 was found active in patients with acute scrub typhus. Subsequent in vitro experiments suggested that IDO1 restrains OT growth via deprivation of tryptophan, an important material for proliferation of OT, rather than via production of its downstream anti-microbial metabolites. Since IDO1 is a multifaceted gene that also plays a part in several processes of the immune system, including induction of tolerogenic responses; other possible consequences of IDO1 activation deserve further investigation in a more complex experimental model as well as in naturally infected human before subsequent clinical implication of this basic knowledge can be ultimately applied.
PMCID: PMC3409113  PMID: 22860140
10.  Natural CD4+ T-Cell Responses against Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34568.
The enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) contributes to immune tolerance in a variety of settings. In cancer IDO is expressed within the tumor itself as well as in antigen-presenting cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes, where it endorses the establishment of peripheral immune tolerance to tumor antigens. Recently, we described cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell reactivity towards IDO-derived peptides.
Methods and Findings
In the present study, we show that CD4+ helper T cells additionally spontaneously recognize IDO. Hence, we scrutinized the vicinity of the previously described HLA-A*0201-restricted IDO-epitope for CD4+ T-cell epitopes. We demonstrated the presence of naturally occurring IDO-specific CD4+ T cells in cancer patients and to a lesser extent in healthy donors by cytokine release ELISPOT. IDO-reactive CD4+ T cells released IFN-γ, TNF-α, as well as IL-17. We confirm HLA class II-restriction by the addition of HLA class II specific blocking antibodies. In addition, we detected a trend between class I- and class II-restricted IDO responses and detected an association between IDO-specific CD4+ T cells and CD8+ CMV-responses. Finally, we could detect IL-10 releasing IDO-reactive CD4+ T cells.
IDO is spontaneously recognized by HLA class II-restricted, CD4+ T cells in cancer patients and in healthy individuals. IDO-specific T cells may participate in immune-regulatory networks where the activation of pro-inflammatory IDO-specific CD4+ responses may well overcome or delay the immune suppressive actions of the IDO-protein, which are otherwise a consequence of the early expression of IDO in maturing antigen presenting cells. In contrast, IDO-specific regulatory T cells may enhance IDO-mediated immune suppression.
PMCID: PMC3335144  PMID: 22539948
11.  Suppression of Immunodominant Antitumor and Antiviral CD8+ T Cell Responses by Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90439.
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is a tryptophan-degrading enzyme known to suppress antitumor CD8+ T cells (TCD8). The role of IDO in regulation of antiviral TCD8 responses is far less clear. In addition, whether IDO controls both immunodominant and subdominant TCD8 is not fully understood. This is an important question because the dominance status of tumor- and virus-specific TCD8 may determine their significance in protective immunity and in vaccine design. We evaluated the magnitude and breadth of cross-primed TCD8 responses to simian virus 40 (SV40) large T antigen as well as primary and recall TCD8 responses to influenza A virus (IAV) in the absence or presence of IDO. IDO−/− mice and wild-type mice treated with 1-methyl-D-tryptophan, a pharmacological inhibitor of IDO, exhibited augmented responses to immunodominant epitopes encoded by T antigen and IAV. IDO-mediated suppression of these responses was independent of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells, which remained numerically and functionally intact in IDO−/− mice. Treatment with L-kynurenine failed to inhibit TCD8 responses, indicating that tryptophan metabolites are not responsible for the suppressive effect of IDO in our models. Immunodominant T antigen-specific TCD8 from IDO−/− mice showed increased Ki-67 expression, suggesting that they may have acquired a more vigorous proliferative capacity in vivo. In conclusion, IDO suppresses immunodominant TCD8 responses to tumor and viral antigens. Our work also demonstrates that systemic primary and recall TCD8 responses to IAV are controlled by IDO. Inhibition of IDO thus represents an attractive adjuvant strategy in boosting anticancer and antiviral TCD8 targeting highly immunogenic antigens.
PMCID: PMC3938761  PMID: 24587363
12.  Systemic Delivery of Salmonella Typhimurium Transformed with IDO shRNA Enhances Intratumoral Vector Colonization and Suppresses Tumor Growth 
Cancer research  2012;72(24):6447-6456.
Generating antitumor responses through the inhibition of tumor-derived immune suppression represents a promising strategy in the development of cancer immunotherapeutics. Here we present a strategy incorporating delivery of the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium (ST), naturally tropic for the hypoxic tumor environment, transformed with an shRNA plasmid against the immunosuppressive molecule indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (shIDO). When systemically delivered into mice, shIDO silences host IDO expression and leads to massive intratumoral cell death that is associated with significant tumor infiltration by polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs). shIDO-ST treatment causes tumor cell death independently of host IDO and adaptive immunity, which may have important implications for use in immunosuppressed cancer patients. Further, shIDO-ST treatment increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by infiltrating PMNs and conversely, PMN immunodepletion abrogates tumor control. Silencing of host IDO significantly enhances ST colonization, suggesting that IDO expression within the tumor controls the immune response to ST. In summary, we present a novel approach to cancer treatment that involves the specific silencing of tumor-derived IDO that allows for the recruitment of ROS-producing PMNs, which may act primarily to clear ST infection, but in the process, also induces apoptosis of surrounding tumor tissue resulting in a vigorous anti-tumor effect.
PMCID: PMC3525777  PMID: 23090116
Salmonella typhimurium; indoleamine 2; 3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO); shRNA; B16F10 melanoma; neutrophils
13.  Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase 
Cancer journal (Sudbury, Mass.)  2010;16(4):10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181eb3343.
This article covers what is currently known about the role of the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) in cancer-related immunosuppression and the clinical research on IDO inhibitors. A PUBMED search was performed using the terms IDO, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, 1-MT. IDO is an inducible enzyme that catalyzes the rate-limiting first step in tryptophan catabolism. This enzyme is overexpressed in response to IFNγ in a variety of different malignancies. IDO causes immunosuppression through breakdown of tryptophan in the tumor microenvironment and tumor-draining lymph nodes. The depletion of tryptophan and toxic catabolites renders effector T cells inactive and dendritic cells immunosuppressive. Preclinical data suggest that IDO inhibition can delay tumor growth, enhance dendritic cell vaccines, and synergize with chemotherapy through immune-mediated mechanisms. The lead IDO inhibitor, D-1-methyl-tryptophan (D-1-MT), was selected for phase I trials and seems to have immune modulating activity. Subsequently, another isoform of IDO, IDO2, was discovered and found to be the target of D-1-MT. Multiple single-nucleotide polymorphisms in IDO2 affecting its catalytic activity may serve as a pharmacogenetic predictive biomarker for D-1-MT. The IDO pathway is an important mechanism of tumor-related immunosuppression and blocking it could improve cancer immunotherapy outcomes. Clinical development of D-1-MT and other IDO inhibitors as systemic immunomodulators to be combined with other immune modulators, vaccines, and chemotherapy are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC3850167  PMID: 20693847
immunotherapy; indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase; 1-methyl-tryptophan
14.  Genotyping and expression analysis of IDO2 in human pancreatic cancer: a novel, active target 
We recently discovered that the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is overexpressed in primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDA) and in lymph node metastases (J Am Coll Surg. 5:849-54: 2008). IDO2 is a recently discovered relative of IDO that has unique signaling properties (Cancer Res. 67:7082-7087: 2007). Notably, the IDO2 gene has two functional polymorphisms commonly found in human populations that abolish its enzymatic activity (R235W and Y359STOP). Both IDO and IDO2 repress the immune system and we hypothesize that expression of these enzymes in PDA may help cancer cells evade immune detection.
Based on evidence that the IDO2 may be a preferential target of D-1-methyl-tryptophan (1-MT), a clinical lead inhibitor of IDO currently being evaluated in Phase I trials, we sequenced IDO2 in 36 resected PDAs and evaluated its expression in relation to the two known genetic polymorphisms.
In our patient cohort, we found that 58% (21/36) of the cases were heterozygous for the R235W polymorphism; 28% (10/36) were homozygous wild-type; and only 14% (5/36) were homozygous for the functionally inactive polymorphism. Interestingly, IDO2 had a homozygous wild-type configuration in two pancreatic cancer cell lines whereas one cell line (MiaPaCa2 cells) was homozygous for the R235W polymorphism. As for the Y359STOP polymorphism (seen in the cell line Hs766T), we found that 27% (10/36) of the cases were heterozygous, 62% (22/36) were homozygous wild-type, and only 11% (4/36) were homozygous for this functionally inactive allele. Ruling out the possibility of compound polymorphic variants, we estimated 75% of our resected patient cohort had an active IDO2 enzyme with a conservative estimate that 58% of the patients had at least one functional allele. In immunohistochemical analyses, we found that IDO2 was equally overexpressed in pancreatic cancer tissue from each genetially polymorphic subgroup. We also detected IDO2 protein expression in the genetically distinct pancreatic cancer cell lines after exposure with IFN-γ, establishing that even functionally polymorphic IDO2 sequences can generate IDO2 protein.
These are the first data to report IDO2 expression in PDA and indicate that IDO2 genetic polymorphisms do not negate IFN-γ-inducible protein expression. IDO2 genotyping and expression analysis of our PDA patient tissue bank and cell lines show that IDO2 is active and expressed in a majority of PDA patients. Taken together, these data strongly suggest that the clinical lead compound D-1-MT acting through IDO2 might be useful in treatment of PDA, either alone or in combination with other anti-tumor modalities.
PMCID: PMC3176891  PMID: 19476837
15.  Central Role of IFNγ-Indoleamine 2,3 Dioxygenase Axis in Regulation of Interleukin-12-mediated Antitumor Immunity 
Cancer research  2009;70(1):129-138.
Sustained intratumoral delivery of IL-12 and GM-CSF induces tumor regression via restoration of tumor-resident CD8+ T-effector/memory cell cytotoxicity and subsequent re-priming of a secondary CD8+ T-effector cell response in tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN). However, treatment-induced T-effector activity is transient and is accompanied with a CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ T-suppressor cell rebound. Molecular and cellular changes in post-therapy tumor microenvironment and TDLN were monitored to elucidate the mechanism of counter-regulation. Real-time PCR analysis revealed a 5-fold enhancement of indoleamine 2, 3 dioxygenase (IDO) expression in the tumor and the TDLN after treatment. IDO induction required IFNγ and persisted for up to 7 days. Administration of the IDO inhibitor D-1-methyl tryptophan (D-1MT) concurrent with treatment resulted in a dramatic enhancement of tumor regression. Enhanced efficacy was associated with a diminished T-suppressor cell rebound, revealing a link between IDO activity and post-therapy regulation. Further analysis established that abrogation of the regulatory counter-response resulted in a 10-fold increase in the intratumoral CD8+ T-cell to CD4+ Foxp3+ T-cell ratio. The ratio of proliferating CD8+ T-effector to CD4+ Foxp3+ T-suppressor cells was prognostic for efficacy of tumor suppression in individual mice. IFNγ-dependent IDO induction and T-suppressor cell expansion were primarily driven by IL-12. These findings demonstrate a critical role for IDO in the regulation of IL-12-mediated antitumor immune responses.
PMCID: PMC2805056  PMID: 20028855
16.  Design and application of oncolytic HSV vectors for glioblastoma therapy 
Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most common human brain tumors. The tumor is generally highly infiltrative, making it extremely difficult to treat by surgical resection or radiotherapy. This feature contributes to recurrence and a very poor prognosis. Few anticancer drugs have been shown to alter rapid tumor growth and none are ultimately effective. Oncolytic vectors have been employed as a treatment alternative based on the ability to tailor virus replication to tumor cells. The human neurotropic herpes simplex virus (HSV) is especially attractive for development of oncolytic vectors (oHSV) because this virus is highly infectious, replicates rapidly and can be readily modified to achieve vector attenuation in normal brain tissue. Tumor specificity can be achieved by deleting viral genes that are only required for virus replication in normal cells and permit mutant virus replication selectively in tumor cells. The anti-tumor activity of oHSV can be enhanced by arming the vector with genes that either activate chemotherapeutic drugs within the tumor tissue or promote anti-tumor immunity. In this review, we describe current designs of oHSV and the experience thus far with their potential utility for glioblastoma therapy. In addition, we discuss the impediments to vector effectiveness and describe our view of future developments in vector improvement.
PMCID: PMC3219506  PMID: 19344302
gene therapy; glioblastoma; HSV oncolytic vector
17.  Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Controls Fungal Loads and Immunity in Paracoccidioidomicosis but is More Important to Susceptible than Resistant Hosts 
Paracoccidioidomycosis, a primary fungal infection restricted to Latin America, is acquired by inhalation of fungal particles. The immunoregulatory mechanisms that control the severe and mild forms of paracoccidioidomycosis are still unclear. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an IFN-γ induced enzyme that catalyzes tryptophan metabolism, can control host-pathogen interaction by inhibiting pathogen growth, T cell immunity and tissue inflammation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we investigated the role of IDO in pulmonary paracoccidioidomycosis of susceptible and resistant mice. IDO was blocked by 1-methyl-dl-tryptophan (1MT), and fungal infection studied in vitro and in vivo. Paracoccidioides brasiliensis infection was more severe in 1MT treated than untreated macrophages of resistant and susceptible mice, concurrently with decreased production of kynurenines and IDO mRNA. Similar results were observed in the pulmonary infection. Independent of the host genetic pattern, IDO inhibition reduced fungal clearance but enhanced T cell immunity. The early IDO inhibition resulted in increased differentiation of dendritic and Th17 cells, accompanied by reduced responses of Th1 and Treg cells. Despite these equivalent biological effects, only in susceptible mice the temporary IDO blockade caused sustained fungal growth, increased tissue pathology and mortality rates. In contrast, resistant mice were able to recover the transitory IDO blockade by the late control of fungal burdens without enhanced tissue pathology.
Our studies demonstrate for the first time that in pulmonary paracoccidioidomycosis, IDO is an important immunoregulatory enzyme that promotes fungal clearance and inhibits T cell immunity and inflammation, with prominent importance to susceptible hosts. In fact, only in the susceptible background IDO inhibition resulted in uncontrolled tissue pathology and mortality rates. Our findings open new perspectives to understand the immunopathology of paracoccidioidomycosis, and suggest that an insufficient IDO activity could be associated with the severe cases of human PCM characterized by inefficient fungal clearance and excessive inflammation.
Author Summary
Immunoprotection to paracoccidiodomycosis, a systemic mycosis endemic in Latin America, is mediated by T cell immunity whereas immunosuppression characterizes the severe forms of the disease. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an enzyme mainly induced by IFN-γ, catabolizes tryptophan along the kynurenines pathway. Tryptophan deficiency has been associated with reduced pathogen growth, while elevated levels of kynurenines with suppressed immune responses. In this study, the role of IDO in pulmonary paracoccidioidomycosis was investigated using resistant and susceptible mice. In both mouse strains, IDO blockade by 1-methyl tryptophan resulted in inefficient fungal clearance accompanied by enhanced T cell immunity. Despite these equivalent biological effects, only in susceptible mice IDO inhibition caused progressive fungal growth and tissue pathology resulting in increased mortality. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that IDO exert a yet unexplored immunoregulatory role in pulmonary paracoccidioidomycosis that can be particularly important in the severe cases of the disease.
PMCID: PMC4238999  PMID: 25411790
18.  Upregulated expression of indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase in CHO cells induces apoptosis of competent T cells and increases proportion of Treg cells 
The inflammatory enzyme indoleamine 2, 3-dioxygenase (IDO) participates in immune tolerance and promotes immune escape of IDO+ tumors. A recent hypothesis suggested that IDO may contribute to the differentiation of new T regulatory cells (Tregs) from naive CD4+ T cells. In this study we investigated the role of IDO in induction of immunosuppression in breast cancer by increasing the apoptosis of T cells and the proportion of Tregs.
An IDO expression plasmid was constructed and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were stably transfected with human IDO. Purified CD3+ T cells were isolated from the peripheral blood monouclear cells of breast cancer patients. After co-culturing IDO expressing or untransfected (control) CHO cells with T cells, T cells apoptosis were determined by flow cytometry analysis and annexin-V and PI staining. The proportion of the regulatory T cell (Tregs [CD4 + CD25 + CD127-]) subset was measured by flow cytometry analysis. T cells total RNA and cellular protein samples were isolated for detecting Foxp3 gene and protein expression.
IDO transgenic CHO cells yielded high levels of IDO enzymatic activity, resulting in complete depletion of tryptophan from the culture medium. We found that apoptosis occurred in 79.07 ± 8.13% of CD3+T cells after co-cultured with IDO+ CHO cells for 3 days and the proportion of CD4 + CD25 + CD127- T cells increased from 3.43 ± 1.07% to 8.98 ± 1.88% (P < 0.05) as well. The specific inhibitor of IDO,1-MT efficiently reversed enhancement of T cells apoptosis and amplification of Tregs in vitro. Increased expression of Foxp3, a key molecular marker of Tregs, was confirmed by RT-PCR, real-time RT-PCR and Western blot analysis at the same time.
These results suggest that IDO helps to create a tolerogenic milieu in breast tumors by directly inducing T cell apoptosis and enhancing Treg-mediated immunosuppression.
PMCID: PMC3184069  PMID: 21917155
Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2; 3-Dioxygenase; breast neoplasms; immune tolerance; CHO Cells; regulatory T-Lymphocytes
19.  The paradoxical patterns of expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in colon cancer 
One of the putative mechanisms of tumor immune escape is based on the hypothesis that carcinomas actively create an immunosuppressed state via the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), both in the cancer cells and in the immune cells among the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLN). In an attempt to verify this hypothesis, the patterns of expression of IDO in the cancer cells and the immune cells among colon cancers were examined.
Seventy-one cases of pathologically-confirmed colon cancer tissues matched with adjacent non-cancerous tissues, lymph node metastases, and TDLN without metastases were collected at the Sun Yat-sen Cancer Center between January 2000 and December 2000. The expression of IDO and Bin1, an IDO regulator, was determined with an immunohistochemical assay. The association between IDO or Bin1 expression and TNM stages and the 5-year survival rate in colon cancer patients was analyzed.
IDO and Bin1 were detected in the cytoplasm of cancer cells and normal epithelium. In primary colon cancer, the strong expression of IDO existed in 9/71 cases (12.7%), while the strong expression of Bin1 existed in 33/71 cases (46.5%). However, similar staining of IDO and Bin1 existed in the adjacent non-cancerous tissues. Among the 41 cases with primary colon tumor and lymph node metastases, decreased expression of IDO was documented in the lymph node metastases. Furthermore, among the TDLN without metastases, a higher density of IDO+cells was documented in 21/60 cases (35%). Both univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the density of IDO+cells in TDLN was an independent prognostic factor. The patients with a higher density of IDO+cells in TDLN had a lower 5-year survival rate (37.5%) than the cells with a lower density (73.1%).
This study demonstrated paradoxical patterns of expression of IDO in colon cancer. The high density IDO+cells existed in TDLN and IDO was down-regulated in lymph nodes with metastases, implying that IDO in tumor and immune cells functions differently.
PMCID: PMC2736158  PMID: 19695096
20.  Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Mediates the Antiviral Effect of Gamma Interferon against Hepatitis B Virus in Human Hepatocyte-Derived Cells ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(2):1048-1057.
Alpha interferon (IFN-α) is an approved medication for chronic hepatitis B. Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) is a key mediator of host innate and adaptive antiviral immunity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in vivo. In an effort to elucidate the antiviral mechanism of these cytokines, 37 IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), which are highly inducible in hepatocytes, were tested for their ability to inhibit HBV replication upon overexpression in human hepatoma cells. One ISG candidate, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an IFN-γ-induced enzyme catalyzing tryptophan degradation, efficiently reduced the level of intracellular HBV DNA without altering the steady-state level of viral RNA. Furthermore, expression of an enzymatically inactive IDO mutant did not inhibit HBV replication, and tryptophan supplementation in culture completely restored HBV replication in IDO-expressing cells, indicating that the antiviral effect elicited by IDO is mediated by tryptophan deprivation. Interestingly, IDO-mediated tryptophan deprivation preferentially inhibited viral protein translation and genome replication but did not significantly alter global cellular protein synthesis. Finally, tryptophan supplementation was able to completely restore HBV replication in IFN-γ- but not IFN-α-treated cells, which strongly argues that IDO is the primary mediator of IFN-γ-elicited antiviral response against HBV in human hepatocyte-derived cells.
PMCID: PMC3019998  PMID: 21084489
21.  Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase mediates immune-independent human tumor cell resistance to olaparib, gamma radiation, and cisplatin 
Oncotarget  2014;5(9):2778-2791.
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-1 (IDO) is an immunosuppressive molecule expressed by most human tumors. IDO levels correlate with poor prognosis in cancer patients and IDO inhibitors are under investigation to enhance endogenous anticancer immunosurveillance. Little is known of immune-independent functions of IDO relevant to cancer therapy. We show, for the first time, that IDO mediates human tumor cell resistance to a PARP inhibitor (olaparib), gamma radiation, cisplatin, and combined treatment with olaparib and radiation, in the absence of immune cells. Antisense-mediated reduction of IDO, alone and (in a synthetic lethal approach) in combination with antisense to the DNA repair protein BRCA2 sensitizes human lung cancer cells to olaparib and cisplatin. Antisense reduction of IDO decreased NAD+ in human tumor cells. NAD+ is essential for PARP activity and these data suggest that IDO mediates treatment resistance independent of immunity and at least partially due to a previously unrecognized role for IDO in DNA repair. Furthermore, IDO levels correlated with accumulation of tumor cells in G1 and depletion of cells in G2/M of the cell cycle, suggesting that IDO effects on cell cycle may also modulate sensitivity to radiation and chemotherapeutic agents. IDO is a potentially valuable therapeutic target in cancer treatment, independent of immune function and in combination with other therapies.
PMCID: PMC4058044  PMID: 24784564
22.  Leishmania major Attenuates Host Immunity by Stimulating Local Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase Expression 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(5):715-725.
Inflammation stimulates immunity but can create immune privilege in some settings. Here, we show that cutaneous Leishmania major infection stimulated expression of the immune regulatory enzyme indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) in local lymph nodes. Induced IDO attenuated the T cell stimulatory functions of dendritic cells and suppressed local T cell responses to exogenous and nominal parasite antigens. IDO ablation reduced local inflammation and parasite burdens, as did pharmacologic inhibition of IDO in mice with established infections. IDO ablation also enhanced local expression of proinflammatory cytokines and induced some CD4+ T cells to express interleukin (IL) 17. These findings showed that IDO induced by L. major infection attenuated innate and adaptive immune responses. Thus, IDO acts as a molecular switch regulating host responses, and IDO inhibitor drugs are a potential new approach to enhance host immunity to established leishmania infections.
PMCID: PMC3072725  PMID: 21282196
23.  Expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in nasopharyngeal carcinoma impairs the cytolytic function of peripheral blood lymphocytes 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:416.
Tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells and infiltrating lymphocytes are frequently found in tumor tissues in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Most patients with NPC, however, especially those with advanced stages, have a poor clinical prognosis despite conventional immunotherapy. The aim of this work was to examine the effect of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), an immunosuppressive enzyme, on the lymphocyte function in NPC.
The NPC cell line CNE2 was treated by interferon-γ (IFNγ) and the levels of IDO expression was analyzed by Western blotting and reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Lymphocytes from health human exposed to the milieu created by IDO-positive CNE2 cells and the lymphocyte cytotoxicity to target tumor cells was analyzed by standard lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assay. Additionally, expression of IDO was determined by Immunohistochemical assay in the tumor tissues form clinically evaluated NPC.
IDO expression was acutely induced in the NPC cell line CNE2 by low dose interferon-γ (IFNγ) or by co-incubation with activated lymphocytes. Exposure to the milieu created by IDO-positive CNE2 cells did not promote lymphocyte death, but lymphocyte cytotoxicity against target tumor cells was impaired. The suppression of lymphocyte cytotoxic function was fully restored when the conditioned medium was replaced by fresh medium for 24 h. In additionally, the IDO-positive cells were found scattered in the tumor tissues from patients with NPC.
Altogether, these findings suggest that IDO-mediated immunosuppression may be involved in the tumor immune evasion, and that blocking IDO activity in tumor cells may help to re-establish an effective anti-tumor T cell response in NPC.
PMCID: PMC2797021  PMID: 19948041
24.  Serum indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase activity is associated with reduced immunogenicity following vaccination with MVA85A 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):660.
There is an urgent need for improved vaccines to protect against tuberculosis. The currently available vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) has varying immunogenicity and efficacy across different populations for reasons not clearly understood. MVA85A is a modified vaccinia virus expressing antigen 85A from Mycobacterium tuberculosis which has been in clinical development since 2002 as a candidate vaccine to boost BCG-induced protection. A recent efficacy trial in South African infants failed to demonstrate enhancement of protection over BCG alone. The immunogenicity was lower than that seen in UK trials.
The enzyme Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) catalyses the first and rate-limiting step in the breakdown of the essential amino acid tryptophan. T cells are dependent on tryptophan and IDO activity suppresses T-cell proliferation and function.
Using samples collected during phase I trials with MVA85A across the UK and South Africa we have investigated the relationship between vaccine immunogenicity and IDO using IFN-γ ELISPOT, qPCR and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
We demonstrate an IFN-γ dependent increase in IDO mRNA expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) following MVA85A vaccination in UK subjects. IDO mRNA correlates positively with the IFN-γ ELISPOT response indicating that vaccine specific induction of IDO in PBMC is unlikely to limit the development of vaccine specific immunity. IDO activity in the serum of volunteers from the UK and South Africa was also assessed. There was no change in serum IDO activity following MVA85A vaccination. However, we observed higher baseline IDO activity in South African volunteers when compared to UK volunteers. In both UK and South African serum samples, baseline IDO activity negatively correlated with vaccine-specific IFN-γ responses, suggesting that IDO activity may impair the generation of a CD4+ T cell memory response.
Baseline IDO activity was higher in South African volunteers when compared to UK volunteers, which may represent a potential mechanism for the observed variation in vaccine immunogenicity in South African and UK populations and may have important implications for future vaccination strategies.
Trial registration
Trials are registered at; UK cohort NCT00427830, UK LTBI cohort NCT00456183, South African cohort NCT00460590, South African LTBI cohort NCT00480558.
PMCID: PMC4265419  PMID: 25466778
Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase; Tryptophan; Kynurenine; Tuberculosis; Vaccine; MVA85A; BCG; Interferon-γ; LC-MS
25.  (-)-Epigallocatechin gallate inhibits the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase in human colorectal cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2012;4(3):546-550.
Immune escape, the ability of tumor cells to avoid tumor-specific immune responses, occurs during the development and progression of several types of human malignancies, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), the tryptophan catabolic enzyme, plays a significant role in regulating the immune response and provides tumor cells with a potent tool to evade the immune system. In the present study, we examined the effects of (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), the major catechin in green tea, on the inhibition of IDO expression induced by interferon (IFN)-γ in human CRC cells. We found that IFN-γ increased the expression levels of IDO protein and mRNA in HT29 and SW837 CRC cell lines. Treatment of SW837 cells with EGCG significantly decreased IFN-γ-induced expression of IDO protein and mRNA in a dose-dependent manner. Enzymatic activity of IDO, determined by the concentration of L-kynurenine in the culture medium, was also significantly inhibited by EGCG treatment. Phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) induced by IFN-γ was also significantly inhibited by EGCG. Reporter assays indicated that EGCG inhibited the transcriptional activities of IDO promoters, IFN-stimulated response element and IFN-γ activation sequence, activated by STAT1 phosphorylation. These findings suggest that EGCG may exert antitumor effects on CRC, at least in part, by inhibiting the expression and function of IDO through the suppression of STAT1 activation. EGCG may, thus, serve as a potential agent for antitumor immunotherapy and be useful in the chemoprevention and/or treatment of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3673646  PMID: 23741252
indoleamine 2; 3-dioxygenase; (-)-epigallocatechin gallate; colorectal cancer cells; interferon-γ; signal transducer and activator of transcription 1

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