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J Immunol. 2006 Jul 1;177(1):306-14.

IL-2 in vivo activities and antitumor efficacy enhanced by an anti-IL-2 mAb.

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  • 1Laboratory for Cytokine Signaling, RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.


IL-2 is a potent immunostimulant and has been tested for clinical use, including in immunotherapy for cancers and HIV infection. Here we show that a widely used neutralizing anti-murine IL-2 mAb (S4B6) exhibits unexpected activities that enhance the treatment effects of IL-2 in vivo. Coinjection of the anti-IL-2 mAb with a plasmid carrying murine IL-2 cDNA significantly increased the serum IL-2 levels and induced a substantial increase in the division of CD8+ T and NK1.1(high) cells in vivo. Injection of the mAb premixed with recombinant murine IL-2 showed the same enhanced effect. A 5-day treatment with the anti-IL-2 mAb alone gradually increased the CD44(high)CD8+ population, and the increased population was maintained for >300 days, suggesting that the mAb can gradually maintain and potentially enhance the bioactivity of endogenous IL-2 for extended periods. Furthermore, combined treatment with the anti-IL-2 mAb plus the IL-2 plasmid markedly enhanced Ag-specific CTL activity in vivo and partially protected mice from tumor metastasis to the lungs, compared with the anti-IL-2 mAb or IL-2 plasmid alone. These results demonstrated IL-2-enhancing effects of the anti-IL-2 mAb in vivo and suggest that combining a neutralizing anti-IL-2 Ab with IL-2 gene delivery might be used effectively to enhance IL-2 functions in clinical applications.

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