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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Sep 2;105(35):13003-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0805599105. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Rapid tolerization of virus-activated tumor-specific CD8+ T cells in prostate tumors of TRAMP mice.

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  • 1Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


To study T cell responses to tumors in an autochthonous model, we expressed a CD8 T cell epitope SIYRYYGL (SIY) in the prostate of transgenic adenocarcinoma (TRAMP) mice (referred to as TRP-SIY), which spontaneously develop prostate cancer. Naïve SIY-specific CD8 T cells adoptively transferred into TRP-SIY mice became tolerized in the prostate draining lymph nodes. Vaccination of TRP-SIY mice intranasally with influenza virus that expresses the SIY epitope resulted in generation of SIY-specific effector T cells in the lung-draining lymph nodes. These effector T cells expressed TNFalpha and IFNgamma, eliminated SIY peptide-loaded target cells in vivo, and infiltrated prostate tumors, where they rapidly lost the ability to produce effector cytokines. A population of these T cells persisted in prostate tumors but not in lymphoid organs and could be induced to re-express effector functions following cytokine treatment in vitro. These findings suggest that T cells of a given clone can be activated and tolerized simultaneously in different microenvironments of the same host and that effector T cells are rapidly tolerized in the tumors. Our model provides a system to study T cell-tumor interactions in detail and to test the efficacy of cancer immunotherapeutic strategies.

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