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J Immunol. 2001 Mar 1;166(5):3499-505.

Effective treatment of established murine collagen-induced arthritis by systemic administration of dendritic cells genetically modified to express IL-4.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Dendritic cells (DC) are APCs that are able to stimulate or inhibit immune responses, depending on levels of expression of MHC class I and II costimulatory molecules and cytokines. Our previous studies have suggested that the observed contralateral effect, where injection of a vector carrying certain immunomodulatory genes into one joint resulted in inhibition of arthritis in untreated joints, is mediated by in vivo modification of DC. Therefore, we have examined the ability of genetically modified DC to suppress established murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) after i.v. delivery. IL-4 has been shown to partially reduce the severity of CIA after repeated injection of recombinant protein or by injection of an adenoviral vector expressing IL-4. Here we demonstrate that i.v. injection of immature DC, infected with an adenoviral vector expressing IL-4, into mice with established CIA resulted in almost complete suppression of disease, with no recurrence for up to 4 wk posttreatment. Injection i.v. of fluorescently labeled DC demonstrated that the cells rapidly migrated to the liver and spleen after 6 h and to the lymph nodes by 24 h. In culture, spleen cells from DC/IL-4-treated mice produced less IFN-gamma after stimulation by collagen than did control groups. In addition, DC/IL-4 administration decreased the level of specific Abs against type II collagen, in particular the IgG2 Th1 isotype 14 days posttreatment. These results demonstrate the ability to treat effectively established murine arthritis by systemic administration of DC expressing IL-4.

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