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J Leukoc Biol. 2007 Oct;82(4):829-38. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Nonspecific CD4(+) T cells with uptake of antigen-specific dendritic cell-released exosomes stimulate antigen-specific CD8(+) CTL responses and long-term T cell memory.

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Research Unit, Division of Health Research, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


Dendritic cell (DC) and DC-derived exosomes (EXO) have been used extensively for tumor vaccination. However, its therapeutic efficiency is limited to only production of prophylactic immunity against tumors. T cells can uptake DC-released EXO. However, the functional effect of transferred exosomal molecules on T cells is unclear. In this study, we demonstrated that OVA protein-pulsed DC-derived EXO (EXO(OVA)) can be taken up by Con A-stimulated, nonspecific CD4(+) T cells derived from wild-type C57BL/6 mice. The active EXO-uptaken CD4(+) T cells (aT(EXO)), expressing acquired exosomal MHC I/OVA I peptide (pMHC I) complexes and costimulatory CD40 and CD80 molecules, can act as APCs capable of stimulating OVA-specific CD8(+) T cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo and inducing efficient CD4(+) Th cell-independent CD8(+) CTL responses in vivo. The EXO(OVA)-uptaken CD4(+) aT(EXO) cell vaccine induces much more efficient CD8(+) T cell responses and immunity against challenge of OVA-transfected BL6-10 melanoma cells expressing OVA in wild-type C57BL/6 mice than EXO(OVA). The in vivo stimulatory effect of the CD4(+) aT(EXO) cell to CD8(+) T cell responses is mediated and targeted by its CD40 ligand signaling/acquired exosomal CD80 and pMHC I complexes, respectively. In addition, CD4(+) aT(EXO) vaccine stimulates a long-term, OVA-specific CD8(+) T cell memory. Therefore, the EXO(OVA)-uptaken CD4(+) T cells may represent a new, effective, EXO-based vaccine strategy in induction of immune responses against tumors and other infectious diseases.

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