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J Neuroimmunol. 2001 Mar 1;114(1-2):1-7.

Vaccination with autologous dendritic cells: from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis to multiple sclerosis.

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Experimental Neurology and Neuroimmunology Units, Division of Neurology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge University Hospital, S-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are characterized by the loss of tolerance to self-determinants, activation of autoreactive lymphocytes and subsequent damage to single or multiple organs. The mechanisms by which autoimmune responses are triggered, and how activation of autoreactive lymphocytes is initiated and maintained, are not fully understood. Therapeutic approaches in autoimmune diseases have so far concentrated on antigens and T cells. Given the exceptional capacity of dendritic cells (DCs) to induce immunity in vivo, recent reports of the first successful clinical trials based on vaccination of tumor patients with autologous blood DCs pulsed in vitro with tumor antigen come as no surprise. The recent identification of tolerogenic subsets of DCs and their generation in culture may allow a novel approach to induce tolerance in autoimmune diseases. By selective in vitro manipulation of DCs and their subsequent reinfusion, DC-mediated tolerance has been achieved in animal models of human autoimmune diseases, including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats and SJL/J mice and spontaneous diabetes in NOD mice. In vitro observations of human blood DCs are promising for DC-based treatment of MS and other diseases with an autoimmune component. Data from animal models and human materials suggest that DC-based immunotherapy could be beneficial at least as a complement to conventional therapy. Molecular-biological approaches to tolerogenic DCs could provide a rationale for designing immunotherapeutic strategies in autoimmune diseases.

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