Enhanced HER-2/neu-specific antitumor immunity by cotransduction of mouse dendritic cells with two genes encoding HER-2/neu and alpha tumor necrosis factor
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The present study uses an in vivo murine tumor model expressing the human HER-2/neu antigen to evaluate the potential vaccine using dendritic cells (DCs) infected with adenovirus AdVHER-2. We first investigated whether infected DCs (DC(HER-2)) engineered to express HER-2/neu could induce HER-2/neu-specific immune responses. Our data showed that (i) AdVHER2-infected DC(HER-2) expressed HER-2/neu by Western blot and flow cytometric analysis, and (ii) vaccination of mice with DC(HER-2) induced HER-2/neu-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses, but protected only 25% of vaccinated mice from challenge of 3 x 10(5) MCA26/HER-2 tumor cells. Further, to enhance the efficacy of DC(HER-2) vaccine, we coinfected DCs with both AdVHER-2 and AdVTNF-alpha. The infected DCs (DC(HER-2/TNF-alpha)) displayed the expression of both HER-2/neu and TNF-alpha by flow cytometric and ELISA analysis. We next investigated whether DC(HER-2/TNF-alpha) could induce stronger HER-2/neu-specific immune responses. We found that DC(HER-2/TNF-alpha) displayed up-regulation of immunologically important CD40, CD86, and ICAM-I molecules compared with DC(HER-2), indicating that the former ones are more mature forms of DCs. Vaccination of DC(HER-2/TNF-alpha) induced stronger allogeneic T-cell proliferation and 36% enhanced HER-2/neu-specific T-cell responses in vitro than DC(HER-2) cells. More importantly, it stimulated the significant anti-HER-2/neu immunity in vivo, which protected 8/8 mice from challenge of 3 x 10(5) MCA26/HER-2 tumor cells. Therefore, DCs genetically engineered to express both the tumor antigen and cytokines such as TNF-alpha as an immunoadjuvant are likely to represent a new direction in DC vaccine of cancer.
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