Determination of antigen-specific T cell repertoires in human blood has been a challenge. Here, we show a novel integrated approach that permits determination of multiple parameters of antigen-specific T cell repertoires. The approach consists of two assays: the Direct assay and the Cytokine-driven assay. Briefly, human PBMCs are first stimulated with overlapping peptides encoding a given antigen for 48 hours to measure cytokine secretion (Direct assay). Peptide-reactive T cells are further expanded by IL-2 for 5 days; and after overnight starvation, expanded cells are stimulated with the same peptides from the initial culture to analyze cytokine secretion (Cytokine-driven assay). We first applied this integrated approach to determine the type of islet-antigen-specific T cells in healthy adults. Out of ten donors, the Direct assay identified GAD65-specific CD4+ T cells in three adults and zinc transporter 8 (ZnT8)-specific CD4+ T cells in five adults. The intracytoplasmic cytokine staining assay showed that these islet-antigen-specific CD4+ T cells belonged to the CD45RO+ memory compartment. The Cytokine-driven assay further revealed that islet-antigen-specific CD4+ T cells in healthy adults were capable of secreting various types of cytokines including type 1 and type 2 cytokines as well as IL-10. We next applied our integrated assay to determine whether the type of ZnT8-specific CD4+ T cells is different between Type 1 diabetes patients and age/gender/HLA-matched healthy adults. We found that ZnT8-specific CD4+ T cells were skewed towards Th1 cells in T1D patients, while Th2 and IL-10-producing cells were prevalent in healthy adults. In conclusion, the Direct assay and the Cytokine-driven assay complement each other, and the combination of the two assays provides information of antigen-specific T cell repertoires on the breadth, type, and avidity. This strategy is applicable to determine the differences in the quality of antigen-specific T cells between health and disease.
Monocytes exposed to serum from SLE patients promote B cell differentiation to IgG and IgA plasmablasts dependent on BAFF and IL-10 or APRIL, respectively.
The development of autoantibodies is a hallmark of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE serum can induce monocyte differentiation into dendritic cells (DCs) in a type I IFN–dependent manner. Such SLE-DCs activate T cells, but whether they promote B cell responses is not known. In this study, we demonstrate that SLE-DCs can efficiently stimulate naive and memory B cells to differentiate into IgG- and IgA-plasmablasts (PBs) resembling those found in the blood of SLE patients. SLE-DC–mediated IgG-PB differentiation is dependent on B cell–activating factor (BAFF) and IL-10, whereas IgA-PB differentiation is dependent on a proliferation-inducing ligand (APRIL). Importantly, SLE-DCs express CD138 and trans-present CD138-bound APRIL to B cells, leading to the induction of IgA switching and PB differentiation in an IFN-α–independent manner. We further found that this mechanism of providing B cell help is relevant in vivo, as CD138-bound APRIL is expressed on blood monocytes from active SLE patients. Collectively, our study suggests that a direct myeloid DC–B cell interplay might contribute to the pathogenesis of SLE.
Bacterial cyclic glucans are glucose polymers that concentrate within the periplasm of alpha-proteobacteria. These molecules are necessary to maintain the homeostasis of the cell envelope by contributing to the osmolarity of Gram negative bacteria. Here, we demonstrate that Brucella β 1,2 cyclic glucans are potent activators of human and mouse dendritic cells. Dendritic cells activation by Brucella β 1,2 cyclic glucans requires TLR4, MyD88 and TRIF, but not CD14. The Brucella cyclic glucans showed neither toxicity nor immunogenicity compared to LPS and triggered antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses in vivo. These cyclic glucans also enhanced antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses including cross-presentation by different human DC subsets. Brucella β 1,2 cyclic glucans increased the memory CD4+ T cell responses of blood mononuclear cells exposed to recombinant fusion proteins composed of anti-CD40 antibody and antigens from both hepatitis C virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Thus cyclic glucans represent a new class of adjuvants, which might contribute to the development of effective antimicrobial therapies.
Vaccination is one of the key strategies to fight against infectious diseases though numerous diseases remain without appropriate vaccines. The challenge is to generate potent vaccines capable of inducing long-lasting immunity in humans. Successful vaccines include adjuvants that enhance and appropriately skew the immune response to given antigens. The development of new adjuvants for human vaccines has become an expanding field of research. Here we show that bacterial cyclic β-glucans can be used to enhance cellular immunity by activation of dendritic cells, from both mice and humans. In particular, Cyclic-β glucans enhance the in vitro memory CD4+ T cell responses of patients suffering from hepatitis C and tuberculosis. Thus cyclic-β glucans are new adjuvants, which might be used in vaccines.
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and efforts to control TB are hampered by difficulties with diagnosis, prevention and treatment 1,2. Most people infected with M. tuberculosis remain asymptomatic, termed latent TB, with a 10% lifetime risk of developing active TB disease, but current tests cannot identify which individuals will develop disease 3. The immune response to M. tuberculosis is complex and incompletely characterized, hindering development of new diagnostics, therapies and vaccines 4,5. We identified a whole blood 393 transcript signature for active TB in intermediate and high burden settings, correlating with radiological extent of disease and reverting to that of healthy controls following treatment. A subset of latent TB patients had signatures similar to those in active TB patients. We also identified a specific 86-transcript signature that discriminated active TB from other inflammatory and infectious diseases. Modular and pathway analysis revealed that the TB signature was dominated by a neutrophil-driven interferon (IFN)-inducible gene profile, consisting of both IFN-γ and Type I IFNαβ signalling. Comparison with transcriptional signatures in purified cells and flow cytometric analysis, suggest that this TB signature reflects both changes in cellular composition and altered gene expression. Although an IFN signature was also observed in whole blood of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), their complete modular signature differed from TB with increased abundance of plasma cell transcripts. Our studies demonstrate a hitherto under-appreciated role of Type I IFNαβ signalling in TB pathogenesis, which has implications for vaccine and therapeutic development. Our study also provides a broad range of transcriptional biomarkers with potential as diagnostic and prognostic tools to combat the TB epidemic.
Globally there are approximately 9 million new active tuberculosis cases and 1.4 million deaths annually. Effective antituberculosis treatment monitoring is difficult as there are no existing biomarkers of poor adherence or inadequate treatment earlier than 2 months after treatment initiation. Inadequate treatment leads to worsening disease, disease transmission and drug resistance.
To determine if blood transcriptional signatures change in response to antituberculosis treatment and could act as early biomarkers of a successful response.
Blood transcriptional profiles of untreated active tuberculosis patients in South Africa were analysed before, during (2 weeks and 2 months), at the end of (6 months) and after (12 months) antituberculosis treatment, and compared to individuals with latent tuberculosis. An active-tuberculosis transcriptional signature and a specific treatment-response transcriptional signature were derived. The specific treatment response transcriptional signature was tested in two independent cohorts. Two quantitative scoring algorithms were applied to measure the changes in the transcriptional response. The most significantly represented pathways were determined using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis.
An active tuberculosis 664-transcript signature and a treatment specific 320-transcript signature significantly diminished after 2 weeks of treatment in all cohorts, and continued to diminish until 6 months. The transcriptional response to treatment could be individually measured in each patient.
Significant changes in the transcriptional signatures measured by blood tests were readily detectable just 2 weeks after treatment initiation. These findings suggest that blood transcriptional signatures could be used as early surrogate biomarkers of successful treatment response.
Targeting antigens to the lectinlike DC-ASGPR receptor on human DCs and in nonhuman primates results in the induction of antigen-specific IL-10–producing CD4+ T cells.
Dendritic cells (DCs) can initiate and shape host immune responses toward either immunity or tolerance by their effects on antigen-specific CD4+ T cells. DC-asialoglycoprotein receptor (DC-ASGPR), a lectinlike receptor, is a known scavenger receptor. Here, we report that targeting antigens to human DCs via DC-ASGPR, but not lectin-like oxidized-LDL receptor, Dectin-1, or DC-specific ICAM-3–grabbing nonintegrin favors the generation of antigen-specific suppressive CD4+ T cells that produce interleukin 10 (IL-10). These findings apply to both self- and foreign antigens, as well as memory and naive CD4+ T cells. The generation of such IL-10–producing CD4+ T cells requires p38/extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation and IL-10 induction in DCs. We further demonstrate that immunization of nonhuman primates with antigens fused to anti–DC-ASGPR monoclonal antibody generates antigen-specific CD4+ T cells that produce IL-10 in vivo. This study provides a new strategy for the establishment of antigen-specific IL-10–producing suppressive T cells in vivo by targeting whole protein antigens to DCs via DC-ASGPR.
As detailed in the Appreciation piece written by Carol Moberg, Ralph’s
discovery and investigation of DCs constituted an enormous contribution to
immunology. However, Ralph’s influence extended far beyond the strictly
scientific. Below, some of Ralph’s closest colleagues and friends reflect
on the long-lasting effects of his unwavering mentorship, enthusiasm,
generosity, and friendship.
Also in this issue is a Perspective, originally commissioned by Ralph and written
by Robin Weiss
and Peter Vogt. Ralph passed away before he could read
this engaging piece, which celebrates the centennial of the publication in the
JEM of the Nobel Prize-winning work of Peyton Rous. In
addition to their Nobel Prizes, Ralph and Peyton Rous shared the distinctions of
being long-time leaders of Rockefeller laboratories and editors of this
Staphylococcus aureus infections are associated with diverse clinical manifestations leading to significant morbidity and mortality. To define the role of the host response in the clinical manifestations of the disease, we characterized whole blood transcriptional profiles of children hospitalized with community-acquired S. aureus infection and phenotyped the bacterial strains isolated. The overall transcriptional response to S. aureus infection was characterized by over-expression of innate immunity and hematopoiesis related genes and under-expression of genes related to adaptive immunity. We assessed individual profiles using modular fingerprints combined with the molecular distance to health (MDTH), a numerical score of transcriptional perturbation as compared to healthy controls. We observed significant heterogeneity in the host signatures and MDTH, as they were influenced by the type of clinical presentation, the extent of bacterial dissemination, and time of blood sampling in the course of the infection, but not by the bacterial isolate. System analysis approaches provide a new understanding of disease pathogenesis and the relation/interaction between host response and clinical disease manifestations.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a systemic autoimmune disease characterized by a breakdown of tolerance to nuclear antigens and the development of immune complexes. Genomic approaches have shown that human SLE leukocytes homogeneously express type I interferon (IFN)–induced and neutrophil-related transcripts. Increased production and/or bioavailability of IFN-α and associated alterations in dendritic cell (DC) homeostasis have been linked to lupus pathogenesis. Although neutrophils have long been shown to be associated with lupus, their potential role in disease pathogenesis remains elusive. Here, we show that mature SLE neutrophils are primed in vivo by type I IFN and die upon exposure to SLE-derived anti-ribonucleoprotein antibodies, releasing neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). SLE NETs contain DNA as well as large amounts of LL37 and HMGB1, neutrophil proteins that facilitate the uptake and recognition of mammalian DNA by plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs). Indeed, SLE NETs activate pDCs to produce high levels of IFN-α in a DNA- and TLR9 (Toll-like receptor 9)–dependent manner. Our results reveal an unsuspected role for neutrophils in SLE pathogenesis and identify a novel link between nucleic acid–recognizing antibodies and type I IFN production in this disease.
IFNα is known to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but the mechanisms remain unclear. We previously showed that within weeks, exposure to IFNα in vivo induces lupus in pre-autoimmune lupus-prone NZB × NZW F1 (NZB/W) but not in BALB/c mice. In the current study, we show that in vivo expression of IFNα induces sustained B cell proliferation in both BALB/c and NZB/W mice. In NZB/W but not BALB/c mice, B cell proliferation was accompanied by a rapid and unabated production of autoantibody-secreting cells (ASCs) in secondary lymphoid organs, suggesting that a B cell checkpoint is altered in the autoimmune background. The majority (>95%) of ASCs elicited in IFNα-treated NZB/W mice were short-lived and occurred without the induction of long-lived plasma cells. A short course of cyclophosphamide caused a sharp drop in IFNα-elicited short-lived plasma cells, but the levels recovered within days following termination of treatment. Thus, our work provides new insights into effectiveness and limitations of current SLE therapies.
lupus; interferon alpha; B lymphocytes; short-lived plasma cells; cyclophosphamide
In order to develop improved vaccines for patients with recurrent prostate cancer (PCa), we tested the feasibility of using type-1-polarized dendritic cells (DC1s) to cross-present antigens from allogeneic PCa cells and to induce functional CD8+ T cell responses against PCa cells and against defined MHC class I-restricted PCa-relevant epitopes.
Monocyte-derived DCs from PCa patients were matured using the “standard” cytokine cocktail (IL-1β/TNFα/IL-6/PGE2) or using the αDC1-polarizing cocktail (IL-1β/TNFα/IFNα/IFNγ/poly-I:C), loaded with UV-irradiated LNCaP cells, and used to sensitize autologous CD8+ T cells.
αDC1s from PCa patients secreted 10-30 times higher levels of IL-12p70 than sDCs. Importantly this elevated capacity for IL-12p70 secretion was not inhibited by loading with apoptotic tumor cells. Comparing to standard DCs, αDC1s induced higher numbers of CD8+ T cells capable of recognizing both the original PCa cells as well as another PCa cell line, DU145, in MHC class I-restricted fashion. Furthermore, αDC1s induced higher numbers of CD8+ T cells recognizing defined prostate cancer-specific class I-restricted peptide epitopes of prostate-specific antigen and prostatic acid phosphatase: PAP135-143(average 49-fold higher), PAP112-120 (average 24-fold), PSA141-150 (average 5.5-fold) and PSA146-154 (average 11-fold).
Type-1 polarization of GM-CSF/IL-4-generated DCs enhances their ability to present allogeneic tumor cells and to induce CD8+ T cells recognizing different prostate cancer cells and multiple defined prostate cancer-specific epitopes. These observations help to develop improved immunotherapies of prostate cancer for patients with different HLA types and lacking autologous tumor material.
prostate cancer; vaccines; dendritic cells; IL-12; CTLs
The adoptive transfer of cancer antigen-specific effector T cells in patients can result in tumor rejection, thereby illustrating the immune system potential for cancer therapy. Ideally, one would like to directly induce efficient tumor-specific effector and memory T cells through vaccination. Therapeutic vaccines have two objectives: priming antigen-specific T cells and reprogramming memory T cells, i.e., a transformation from one type of immunity to another (e.g., regulatory to cytotoxic). Recent successful phase III clinical trials showing benefit to the patients revived cancer vaccines. Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential in generation of immune responses and as such represent targets and vectors for vaccination. We have learned that different DC subsets elicit different T cells. Similarly, different activation methods result in DCs able to elicit distinct T cells. We contend that a careful manipulation of activated DCs will allow cancer immunotherapists to produce the next generation of highly efficient cancer vaccines.
dendritic cells; cancer; vaccines; T cells
Dendritic cells (DCs) were discovered in 1973 by Ralph Steinman as a previously undefined cell type in the mouse spleen and are now recognized as a group of related cell populations that induce and regulate adaptive immune responses. Studies of the past decade show that, both in mice and humans, DCs are composed of subsets that differ in their localization, phenotype, and functions. These progresses in our understanding of DC biology provide a new framework for improving human health. In this review, we discuss human DC subsets in the context of their medical applications, with a particular focus on DC targeting.
Although a fraction of human blood memory CD4+ T cells expresses chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 5 (CXCR5), their relationship to T follicular helper (Tfh) cells is not well-established. Here we show that human blood CXCR5+ CD4+ T cells share functional properties with Tfh cells, and appear to represent their circulating memory compartment. Blood CXCR5+ CD4+ T cells comprised three subsets; T helper 1 (Th1), Th2 and Th17 cells. Th2 and Th17 cells within CXCR5+, but not within CXCR5−, compartment efficiently induced naïve B cells to produce immunoglobulins via interleukin-21 (IL-21). In contrast, Th1 cells from both CXCR5+ and CXCR5− compartments lacked the capacity to help B cells. Patients with juvenile dermatomyositis, a systemic autoimmune disease, displayed a profound skewing of blood CXCR5+ Th subsets towards Th2 and Th17 cells. Importantly, the skewing of subsets correlated with disease activity and frequency of blood plasmablasts. Collectively, our study suggests that an altered balance of Tfh subsets contributes to human autoimmunity.
Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that persists lifelong in the host. In ∼4% of infected people, HTLV-1 causes a chronic disabling neuroinflammatory disease known as HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). The pathogenesis of HAM/TSP is unknown and treatment remains ineffective. We used gene expression microarrays followed by flow cytometric and functional assays to investigate global changes in blood transcriptional profiles of HTLV-1-infected and seronegative individuals. We found that perturbations of the p53 signaling pathway were a hallmark of HTLV-1 infection. In contrast, a subset of interferon (IFN)-stimulated genes was over-expressed in patients with HAM/TSP but not in asymptomatic HTLV-1 carriers or patients with the clinically similar disease multiple sclerosis. The IFN-inducible signature was present in all circulating leukocytes and its intensity correlated with the clinical severity of HAM/TSP. Leukocytes from patients with HAM/TSP were primed to respond strongly to stimulation with exogenous IFN. However, while type I IFN suppressed expression of the HTLV-1 structural protein Gag it failed to suppress the highly immunogenic viral transcriptional transactivator Tax. We conclude that over-expression of a subset of IFN-stimulated genes in chronic HTLV-1 infection does not constitute an efficient host response but instead contributes to the development of HAM/TSP.
Infection with the Human T Lymphotropic virus is widespread in the tropics and subtropics, where it causes a chronic disabling disease of the nervous system abbreviated as HAM/TSP. There is no effective treatment available for HAM/TSP, because it is not understood how the virus causes the neuronal damage that results in the clinical symptoms of weakness and paralysis of the legs. Here, we compared the frequencies of cell populations and gene expression profiles from diseased and asymptomatic HTLV-1 carriers to identify abnormalities in biological pathways that cause HAM/TSP. We discovered a distinct group of genes that is over-expressed in white blood cells in patients with HAM/TSP, but not asymptomatic HTLV-1 carriers or patients with the clinically similar disease multiple sclerosis. The expression of these genes is induced by interferons, a group of anti-viral proteins that are usually beneficial to the host but can also cause inflammation. We also found that interferons did not efficiently suppress HTLV-1 protein expression in vitro. We conclude that interferons do not control chronic HTLV-1 infection but instead contribute to the development of HAM/TSP. Our study provides new insights into the development of HTLV-1-associated diseases and opens new areas of therapeutic intervention.
Current active immunotherapy trials have shown durable tumor regressions in a fraction of patients. However, clinical efficacy of current vaccines is limited, possibly because tumors skew the immune system by means of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, inflammatory type 2 T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs), all of which prevent the generation of effector cells. To improve the clinical efficacy of cancer vaccines in patients with metastatic disease, we need to design novel and improved strategies that can boost adaptive immunity to cancer, help overcome Tregs and allow the breakdown of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. This can be achieved by exploiting the fast increasing knowledge about the dendritic cell (DC) system, including the existence of distinct DC subsets. Critical to the design of better vaccines is the concept of distinct DC subsets and distinct DC activation pathways, all contributing to the generation of unique adaptive immune responses. Such novel DC vaccines will be used as monotherapy in patients with resected disease and in combination with antibodies and/or drugs targeting suppressor pathways and modulation of the tumor environment in patients with metastatic disease.
dendritic cells; cancer; vaccines; priming
T cells can reject established tumors when adoptively transferred into patients, thereby demonstrating the power of the immune system for cancer therapy. However, it has proven difficult to maintain adoptively transferred T cells in the long term. Vaccines have the potential to induce tumor-specific effector and memory T cells. However, clinical efficacy of current vaccines is limited, possibly because tumors skew the immune system by means of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, inflammatory type 2 T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs), all of which prevent the generation of effector cells. To improve the clinical efficacy of cancer vaccines in patients with metastatic disease, we need to design novel and improved strategies that can boost adaptive immunity to cancer, help overcome Tregs and allow the breakdown of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. This can be achieved by exploiting the fast increasing knowledge about the dendritic cell (DC) system, including the existence of distinct DC subsets which respond differentially to distinct activation signals, (functional plasticity), both contributing to the generation of unique adaptive immune responses. We foresee that these novel cancer vaccines will be used as monotherapy in patients with resected disease, and in combination with drugs targeting regulatory/suppressor pathways in patients with metastatic disease.
dendritic cells; cancer; vaccines; T cells
Ex vivo generated dendritic cells are currently used to induce therapeutic immunity in solid tumors. Effective immune response requires dendritic cells to home and remain in lymphoid organs to allow for adequate interaction with T lymphocytes. The aim of the current study was to detect and track Feridex labeled human dendritic cells in murine models using magnetic resonance imaging. Human dendritic cells were incubated with Feridex and the effect of labeling on dendritic cells immune function was evaluated. Ex vivo dendritic cell phantoms were used to estimate sensitivity of the magnetic resonance methods and in vivo homing was evaluated after intravenous or subcutaneous injection. R2*-maps of liver, spleen, and draining lymph nodes were obtained and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry or relaxometry methods were used to quantify the Feridex tissue concentrations. Correlations between in vivo R2* values and iron content were then determined. Feridex labeling did not affect dendritic cell maturation or function. Phantom results indicated that it was possible to detect 125 dendritic cells within a given slice. Strong correlation between in vivo R2* values and iron deposition was observed. Importantly, Feridex-labeled dendritic cells were detected in the spleen for up to 2 weeks postintravenous injection. This study suggests that magnetic resonance imaging may be used to longitudinally track Feridex-labeled human dendritic cells for up to 2 weeks after injection.
cell tracking; iron oxides; dendritic cells
The effective vaccines developed against a variety of infectious agents, including polio, measles and Hepatitis B, represent major achievements in medicine. These vaccines, usually composed of microbial antigens, are often associated with an adjuvant that activates dendritic cells (DCs). Many infectious diseases are still in need of an effective vaccine including HIV, malaria, hepatitis C and tuberculosis. In some cases, the induction of cellular rather than humoral responses may be more important as the goal is to control and eliminate the existing infection rather than to prevent it. Our increased understanding of the mechanisms of antigen presentation, particularly with the description of DC subsets with distinct functions, as well as their plasticity in responding to extrinsic signals, represent opportunities to develop novel vaccines. In addition, we foresee that this increased knowledge will permit us to design vaccines that will reprogram the immune system to intervene therapeutically in cancer, allergy and autoimmunity.
Dectin-1, a C-type lectin recognizing fungal and mycobacterial pathogens, can deliver intracellular signals that activate dendritic cells (DCs), resulting in initiation of immune responses and expansion of Th17 CD4+ T cell responses. Here, we studied the roles of human Dectin-1 (hDectin-1) expressed on DCs in the induction and activation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses. We first generated an agonistic anti-hDectin-1 monoclonal antibody (mAb), which recognizes the hDectin-1 Glu143-Ile162 region. It bound to in vitro monocyte-derived DCs and to in vivo CD1c+CD1a+ dermal DCs, but not to epidermal Langerhans cells. Anti-hDectin-1-mediated DC activation resulted in upregulation of costimulatory molecules and secretion of multiple cytokines and chemokines in a Syk-dependent manner. DCs activated with the anti-hDectin-1 mAb could significantly enhance both neo and foreign antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses by promoting both the expansion of CD8+ T cell and their functional activities. We further demonstrated that delivering antigens to DCs via hDectin-1 using anti-hDectin-1-antigen conjugates resulted in potent antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Thus, hDectin-1 expressed on DCs can contribute to the induction and activation of cellular immunity against intracellular pathogens, such as mycobacteria, that are recognized by DCs via Dectin-1. Vaccines based on delivering antigens to DCs with an agonistic anti-hDectin-1 mAb could elicit CD8+ T cell-mediated immunity.
Human; Dendritic cells; T cells; Cytotoxic; Vaccination; Dectin-1
TSLP released from human breast cancer cells promotes OX40L expression on DCs, and these OX40L-expressing DCs drive development of inflammatory Th2 cells which promote breast tumor development.
The human breast tumor microenvironment can display features of T helper type 2 (Th2) inflammation, and Th2 inflammation can promote tumor development. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms contributing to Th2 inflammation in breast tumors remain unclear. Here, we show that human breast cancer cells produce thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). Breast tumor supernatants, in a TSLP-dependent manner, induce expression of OX40L on dendritic cells (DCs). OX40L+ DCs are found in primary breast tumor infiltrates. OX40L+ DCs drive development of inflammatory Th2 cells producing interleukin-13 and tumor necrosis factor in vitro. Antibodies neutralizing TSLP or OX40L inhibit breast tumor growth and interleukin-13 production in a xenograft model. Thus, breast cancer cell–derived TSLP contributes to the inflammatory Th2 microenvironment conducive to breast tumor development by inducing OX40L expression on DCs.
Cancer vaccines have undergone a renaissance due to recent clinical trials showing promising immunological data and some clinical benefit to patients. Current trials exploiting dendritic cells (DCs) as vaccines have shown durable tumor regressions in a fraction of patients. Clinical efficacy of current vaccines is hampered by myeloid-derived suppressor cells, inflammatory type 2 T cells and regulatory T cells (Tregs), all of which prevent the generation of effector cells. To improve the clinical efficacy of DC vaccines, we need to design novel and improved strategies that can boost adaptive immunity to cancer, help overcome Tregs and allow the breakdown of the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. This can be achieved by exploiting the fast increasing knowledge about the DC system, including the existence of distinct DC subsets. Critical to the design of better vaccines is the concept of distinct DC subsets and distinct DC activation pathways, all contributing to the generation of unique adaptive immune responses. Such novel DC vaccines will be used as monotherapy in patients with resected disease and in combination with antibodies and/or drugs targeting suppressor pathways and modulation of the tumor environment in patients with metastatic disease.
dendritic cells; cancer; vaccines; priming
Glucocorticoids are widely used to treat patients with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)1,2. However, regimens used to treat many such conditions cannot maintain disease control in the majority of SLE patients and more aggressive approaches such as high-dose methylprednisolone pulse therapy are used to provide transient reductions in disease activity3,4. The primary anti-inflammatory mechanism of glucocorticoids is thought to be NF-κB inhibition5. Recognition of self nucleic acids by toll-like receptors TLR7 and TLR9 on B cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs) is an important step in the pathogenesis of SLE6, promoting anti-nuclear antibodies and the production of type I interferon (IFN), both correlated with the severity of disease1,7. Following their activation by self-nucleic acid-associated immune complexes, PDCs migrate to the tissues8,9. We demonstrate, in vitro and in vivo, that stimulation of PDCs through TLR7 and 9 can account for the reduced activity of glucocorticoids to inhibit the IFN pathway in SLE patients and in two lupus-prone mouse strains. The triggering of PDCs through TLR7 and 9 by nucleic acid-containing immune complexes or by synthetic ligands activates the NF-κB pathway essential for PDC survival. Glucocorticoids do not affect NF-κB activation in PDCs, preventing glucocorticoid induction of PDC death and the consequent reduction of systemic IFN-α levels. These findings unveil a new role for self nucleic acid recognition by TLRs and indicate that inhibitors of TLR7 and 9 signalling could prove to be effective corticosteroid-sparing drugs.
Dendritic cells (DCs) orchestrate the innate and adaptive immune systems to induce tolerance and immunity. DC plasticity and subsets are prominent determinants in the regulation of immune responses. Our recent studies suggest that humoral and cellular immunity is regulated by different myeloid DC subsets with distinct intrinsic properties in humans. While antibody response is preferentially mediated by CD14+ dermal DCs, cytotoxic T cell response is preferentially mediated by Langerhans cells (LCs). Thus, mechanisms whereby DCs induce humoral and cellular immunity appear to be fundamentally distinct. In this review, we will focus on the role of DCs in the development of humoral immunity. We will also discuss the mechanisms whereby DCs induce CD4+ T cells associated with the help of B cell response, including T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, and why human LCs lack this ability.