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Haematologica. 2010 Nov;95(11):1943-51. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2010.022947. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

Combined CD8+ and CD4+ adenovirus hexon-specific T cells associated with viral clearance after stem cell transplantation as treatment for adenovirus infection.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. m.l.zandvliet@lumc.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Human adenovirus can cause morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Reconstitution of adenovirus-specific CD4(+) T cells has been reported to be associated with sustained protection from adenovirus disease, but epitope specificity of these responses has not been characterized. Since mainly CD4(+) T cells and no CD8(+) T cells specific for adenovirus have been detected after allogeneic stem cell transplantation, the relative contribution of adenovirus-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in protection from adenovirus disease remains to be elucidated.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

The presence of human adenovirus hexon-specific T cells was investigated in peripheral blood of pediatric and adult allogeneic stem cell transplant recipients, who showed spontaneous resolution of disseminated adenovirus infection. Subsequently, a clinical grade method was developed for rapid generation of adenovirus-specific T-cell lines for adoptive immunotherapy.

RESULTS:

Clearance of human adenovirus viremia coincided with emergence of a coordinated CD8(+) and CD4(+) T-cell response against adenovirus hexon epitopes in patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Activation of adenovirus hexon-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells with a hexon protein-spanning peptide pool followed by interferon-γ-based isolation allowed rapid expansion of highly specific T-cell lines from healthy adults, including donors with very low frequencies of adenovirus hexon-specific T cells. Adenovirus-specific T-cell lines recognized multiple MHC class I and II restricted epitopes, including known and novel epitopes, and efficiently lysed human adenovirus-infected target cells.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides a rationale and strategy for the adoptive transfer of donor-derived human adenovirus hexon-specific CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells for the treatment of disseminated adenovirus infection after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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