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BMC Immunol. 2011 Jan 5;12:2. doi: 10.1186/1471-2172-12-2.

Maturation of monocyte derived dendritic cells with OK432 boosts IL-12p70 secretion and conveys strong T-cell responses.

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The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Norway.



Design of tumour specific immunotherapies using the patients' own dendritic cells (DC) is a fast advancing scientific field. The functional qualities of the DC generated in vitro are critical, and today's gold standard for maturation is a cytokine cocktail consisting of IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and PGE2 generating cells lacking IL-12p70 production. OK432 is an immunotherapeutic agent derived from killed Streptococcus pyogenes that has been used clinically to treat malignant and benign neoplasms for decades.


In this study, we analysed the effects of OK432 on DC maturation, DC migration, cytokine and chemokine secretion as well as T-cell stimulatory capacity, and compared it to the cytokine cocktail alone and combinations of OK432 with the cytokine cocktail.


OK432 induced a marked up-regulation of CD40 on the cell surface as well as a strong inflammatory response from the DC with significantly more secretion of 19 different cytokines and chemokines compared to the cytokine cocktail. Interestingly, secretion of IL-15 and IL-12p70 was detected at high concentrations after maturation of DC with OK432. However, the OK432 treated DC did not migrate as well as DC treated with cytokine cocktail in a transwell migration assay. During allogeneic T-cell stimulation OK432 treated DC induced proliferation of over 50 percent of CD4 and 30 percent of CD8 T-cells for more than two cell divisions, whereas cytokine cocktail treated DC induced proliferation of 12 and 11 percent of CD4 and CD8 T-cells, respectively.


The clinically approved compound OK432 has interesting properties that warrants its use in DC immunotherapy and should be considered as a potential immunomodulating agent in cancer immunotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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