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Mol Ther. 2001 May;3(5 Pt 1):697-707.

Acute cytokine response to systemic adenoviral vectors in mice is mediated by dendritic cells and macrophages.

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Institute for Human Gene Therapy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


We investigated the cellular basis for secretion of inflammatory cytokines in mice following intravenous administration of adenoviral vectors (Ad). Serum inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were detected as early as 6 h following intravenous injection of Ad-expressing Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase (Ad-lacZ). Ad-lacZ readily accumulated in the splenic marginal zone 1 h after intravenous infusion, where both dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages were transduced and activated within 6 h. Flow cytometric analyses showed that the expression of Ia and CD86 antigens was markedly enhanced on splenic DCs indicating their activation in vivo by Ad-lacZ. Upon ex vivo culture, these early-activated splenic DCs spontaneously produced high levels of IL-6 and IL-12. By contrast, activated splenic macrophages spontaneously secreted only IL-6. Elimination of tissue macrophages and splenic DCs in vivo considerably reduced the early release of IL-12, IL-6, and TNF-alpha and significantly blocked the specific cellular immune response to Ad and the transgene product in vivo. Our findings indicate that preferential activation of DCs and macrophages may account for Ad-triggered acute inflammatory response in vivo in mice. Moreover, DCs and macrophages may play different roles in this process in terms of their abilities to produce distinct patterns of inflammatory cytokines.

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