Ex vivo generation of genetically modified dendritic cells for immunotherapy: implications of lymphocyte contamination


Immunotherapy Program, Vince Lombardi Gene Therapy Laboratory, Transplant Research Laboratory, St Luke’s Medical Center


Genetically modified dendritic cell (DC) vaccines expressing tumor-associated antigens are currently used for cancer immunotherapy. Peripheral blood (PB) monocyte precursors are a relatively convenient source of DCs for use in clinical studies, but are often contaminated by lymphocytes. The current study was conducted to examine the impact of T-lymphocyte contamination on genetically modified DC product. PB monocyte-derived DCs were efficiently transduced (75-95%) with an HIV-1-based self-inactivating lentiviral vector encoding a model antigen, the enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP). The lymphocyte-free DC culture transduced with Lenti-eGFP showed stable expression of eGFP without measurable decline in viability. In contrast, the eGFP-positive DCs disappeared rapidly in transduced DC cultures containing lymphocyte contaminants, concurrent with detectable activation and expansion of T-lymphocytes. Upon antigen recall, these T cells elicited major histocompatability complex-restricted antigen-specific cytotoxicity against eGFP-positive autologous DCs and mitogen-stimulated T lymphoblasts, mainly through the perforin-mediated pathway. In summary, this study demonstrate that the relative purity of DC cultures could determine the persistence of gene-modified DC, which may affect the induction of effective immune responses by DC vaccination strategies.

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