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Blood. 2010 Nov 25;116(22):4501-11. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-04-278739. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

siRNA silencing of PD-L1 and PD-L2 on dendritic cells augments expansion and function of minor histocompatibility antigen-specific CD8+ T cells.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine-Laboratory of Hematology, Radboud University NijmegenMedical Center, Nijmegen Center for Molecular Life Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Tumor relapse after human leukocyte antigen-matched allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) remains a serious problem, despite the long-term presence of minor histocompatibility antigen (MiHA)-specific memory T cells. Dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccination boosting MiHA-specific T-cell immunity is an appealing strategy to prevent or counteract tumor recurrence, but improvement is necessary to increase the clinical benefit. Here, we investigated whether knockdown of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and PD-L2 on monocyte-derived DCs results in improved T-cell activation. Electroporation of single siRNA sequences into immature DCs resulted in efficient, specific, and long-lasting knockdown of PD-L1 and PD-L2 expression. PD-L knockdown DCs strongly augmented interferon-γ and interleukin-2 production by stimulated T cells in an allogeneic mixed lymphocyte reaction, whereas no effect was observed on T-cell proliferation. Moreover, we demonstrated that PD-L gene silencing, especially combined PD-L1 and PD-L2 knockdown, resulted in improved proliferation and cytokine production of keyhole limpet hemocyanin-specific CD4(+) T cells. Most importantly, PD-L knockdown DCs showed superior potential to expand MiHA-specific CD8(+) effector and memory T cells from leukemia patients early after donor lymphocyte infusion and later during relapse. These data demonstrate that PD-L siRNA electroporated DCs are highly effective in enhancing T-cell proliferation and cytokine production, and are therefore attractive cells for improving the efficacy of DC vaccines in cancer patients.

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