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J Invest Dermatol. 1994 Jan;102(1):67-73.

Interleukin 1 alpha but not transforming growth factor beta inhibits tumor antigen presentation by epidermal antigen-presenting cells.

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Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


Cutaneous I-A+ Langerhans cells are the principal antigen-presenting cells within the epidermis, capable of both initiating and eliciting CD4-dependent immune reactions. We recently demonstrated that epidermal Langerhans cells can present tumor-associated antigens and thus may be important in cutaneous tumor immunity. Despite the ability of Langerhans cells to present tumor antigens, they generally fail to induce protective tumor immunity against growing tumors in situ. We therefore investigated whether locally produced cytokines may be able to down-regulate the presentation of tumor-associated antigens and alloantigen by epidermal antigen-presenting cells in primed as well as in unprimed systems in vivo and in vitro. Naive syngeneic mice could be successfully immunized against the spindle cell tumor S1509a by injecting them with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-exposed and tumor-associated antigen-pulsed epidermal cells three times at weekly intervals. Co-incubation of epidermal cells in granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-1 alpha inhibited tumor-antigen presentation by epidermal antigen-presenting cells in this system and also inhibited alloantigen presentation in the primary mixed epidermal cell-lymphocyte reaction. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha appeared to be a significant mediator of the inhibitory effect of interleukin-1 alpha on the ability of epidermal antigen-presenting cells to induce protective tumor immunity, because addition of anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha antibody abrogated the observed effect of interleukin-1 alpha. However, the effects of interleukin-1 alpha and tumor necrosis factor-alpha differed with regard to presentation of tumor-associated antigens by epidermal antigen-presenting cells in a primed system. Whereas incubation of epidermal cells in interleukin-1 alpha before or after tumor antigen pulse inhibited their ability to elicit a delayed-type hypersensitivity response against S1509a tumor-associated antigens in tumor-immune mice, culture in tumor necrosis factor-alpha significantly enhanced delayed-type hypersensitivity. Again, these in vivo data corresponded well to similar results obtained in vitro using the secondary mixed epidermal cell-lymphocyte reaction. Incubation of epidermal cells in transforming growth factor-beta, which has been shown to down-regulate T-cell-mediated immune responses in other systems, did not suppress tumor immunity in our assays. Thus, interleukin-1 alpha may be an important regulator of Langerhans cell antigen-presenting function, having effects that are partially mediated via interleukin-1 alpha-induced up-regulation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha secretion within the skin.

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