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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2001 Dec;50(10):515-22.

Augmentation of MHC class I antigen presentation via heat shock protein expression by hyperthermia.

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Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Nagoya University, Japan.


Heat shock proteins are recognized as significant participants in immune reactions. In this study, we have demonstrated that the cell surface presentation of MHC class I antigen was increased in tandem with increased heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) expression and the immunogenicity of rat T-9 glioma cells was enhanced by hyperthermia. T-9 cells showed growth inhibition for 24 h after the heat treatment at 43 degrees C for 1 h in vitro, but then resumed a normal growth rate. HSP70 expression reached a maximum at 24 h after heating. Flow cytometric analysis revealed a significant increase in MHC class I antigen on the surface of the heated cells. The augmentation of MHC class I surface expression started 24 h after heating and reached a maximum 48 h after heating. The expression of other immunologic mediators, such as intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and MHC class II antigens, did not increase. In an in vivo experiment using immunocompetent syngeneic rats (F344), growth of the heated T-9 cells, with augmentation of MHC class I antigen surface expression, was significantly inhibited, while the cells grew progressively in nude rats (F344/N Jcl-rnu). Furthermore, compared with lymphocytes from non-immunized (PBS only injection) rats or rats injected with non-heated T-9 cells, the splenic lymphocytes of the rats in which the heated T-9 cells were injected displayed specific cytotoxicity against T-9 cells. These results suggest that HSP70 is an important modulator of tumor cell immunogenicity, and that hyperthermic treatment of tumor cells can induce the host antitumor immunity via the expression of HSP70. These results may benefit further efforts on developing novel cancer immunotherapies based on hyperthermia.

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