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J Immunother. 2004 Jul-Aug;27(4):265-72.

Comparative analysis of antigen loading strategies of dendritic cells for tumor immunotherapy.

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Center for Surgery Research, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) loaded with antigens can effectively stimulate host immune responses to syngeneic tumors, but there is considerable controversy as to which forms of antigen-loading are most immunogenic. Here, the authors compared immunotherapeutic reactivities of DCs loaded with a variety of antigen preparations. Because DC maturation stages affect their capacities of antigen processing and presentation, two DC populations were used for the current analysis: in vivo Flt-3 ligand-induced mature DCs and in vitro bone marrow-derived DCs, which were less mature. To facilitate a direct comparison, the LacZ gene-transduced B16 melanoma model system was used, where beta-galactosidase served as the surrogate tumor-rejection antigen. DC loading strategies included pulsing with the beta-galactosidase protein, H-2K restricted peptide, tumor cell lysate, and irradiated tumor cells and fusion of DCs with tumor cells. Our results demonstrated that electrofusion of DCs and tumor cells generated a therapeutic vaccine far superior to other methods of DC loading. For the treatment of 3-day established pulmonary tumor nodules, a single intranodal vaccination plus IL-12 resulted in a significant reduction of metastatic nodules, while other DC preparations were only marginally effective. Immunotherapy mediated by the fusion cells was tumor antigen-specific. Consistent with their therapeutic activity, fusion hybrids were the most potent stimulators to induce specific IFN-gamma secretion from immune T cells. Furthermore, fusion cells also stimulated a small amount of IL-10 production from immune T cells. However, this IL-10 secretion was also induced by other DC preparations and did not correlate with in vivo therapeutic reactivity.

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