IL-15 has innate anti-tumor activity independent of NK and CD8 T cells
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The innate immune system is crucial for host defense and immunosurveillance against pathogens and tumor cells. IL-15 is a pleiotropic cytokine with important effects on cells of the innate and adaptive immune systems. The NK cell- and CD8(+) T cell-mediated functions of IL-15 against tumor cells have been well documented. However, it has not been established whether IL-15 has innate anti-tumor functions independent of these cells. Here, we explored the innate anti-tumor potential of IL-15 using a B16F10 melanoma tumor model. IL-15tg mice exhibited significantly more resistance to tumor growth and metastasis compared to B6 mice, and to IL-15(-/-) mice, which exhibited increased susceptibility to B16F10 challenge. In vivo depletion of NK cells and CD8(+) T cells abrogated the innate resistance to B16F10 cells in B6 but not in IL-15tg mice. In addition, lung macrophages from IL-15tg mice produced significantly higher levels of NO and IL-12 compared with macrophages from B6 or IL-15(-/-) mice. To examine whether IL-15 has innate anti-tumor activity independent of NK cells and CD8(+) T cells, we developed Ad-Op-hIL-15; this resulted in significantly higher levels of biologically active hIL-15. Delivery of Ad-Op-hIL-15 into RAG-2(-/-)/gamma(c)(-/-) mice significantly suppressed tumor burden in the lungs compared with the control adenovirus vector. Our results show that IL-15 can have innate anti-tumor activity independent of NK cells and CD8(+) T cells and the common gamma(c)R.
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