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Eur J Immunol. 2009 Feb;39(2):457-68. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838794.

DC therapy induces long-term NK reactivity to tumors via host DC.

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Research Unit for Cellular Immunotherapy, The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, RIKEN, Research Center for Allergy and Immunology, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.


We vaccinated mice with DC loaded with or without invariant NKT-cell ligand alpha-galactosylceramide and evaluated long-term resistance against tumor challenge. When mice had been given either DC or DC/galactosylceramide and were challenged with tumor cells even 6-12 months later, both NK and NKT cells were quickly activated to express CD69 and produce IFN-gamma. The NK cells could resist a challenge with several different tumors in vivo. The activated NK and NKT cells could be depleted with anti-NK1.1 treatment. In spite of this, the activated cells recovered, indicating that tumor-responsive NK and NKT cells were being generated continuously as a result of vaccination with DC and were not true memory cells. The NK and NKT antitumor response in DC-vaccinated mice depended on CD4(+) T cells, but neither CD8(+)T cells nor CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells. However, both vaccine DC and host DC were required for the development of long-term, tumor reactive innate immunity. These results indicate that DC therapy in mice induces long-lasting innate NK- and NKT-cell activation through a pathway that requires host DC and CD4(+) T cells and that the continued generation of active NK cells resists the establishment of metastases in vivo.

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