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J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 7;286(40):34883-92. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.276329. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

An artificial antigen-presenting cell with paracrine delivery of IL-2 impacts the magnitude and direction of the T cell response.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.


Artificial antigen-presenting cells (aAPCs) are an emerging technology to induce therapeutic cellular immunity without the need for autologous antigen-presenting cells (APCs). To fully replace natural APCs, an optimized aAPC must present antigen (signal 1), provide costimulation (signal 2), and release cytokine (signal 3). Here we demonstrate that the spatial and temporal characteristics of paracrine release of IL-2 from biodegradable polymer aAPCs (now termed paAPCs) can significantly alter the balance in the activation and proliferation of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Paracrine delivery of IL-2 upon T cell contact with paAPCs induces significant IL-2 accumulation in the synaptic contact region. This accumulation increases CD25 (the inducible IL-2 Rα chain) on responding T cells and increases proliferation of CD8+ T cells in vitro to levels 10 times that observed with equivalent amounts of bulk IL-2. These CD8+ T cell responses critically depend upon close contact of T cells and the paAPCs and require sustained release of low levels of IL-2. The same conditions promote activation-induced cell death in CD4+ T cells. These findings provide insight into the response of T cell subsets to paracrine IL-2.

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