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apoptosis, bone marrow cell, antigen recognition, cytokine release, lymph node, lymphatic drainage, melanoma cell, tumor immunity


Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent APCs and attractive vectors for cancer immunotherapy. Using the B16 melanoma, a poorly immunogenic experimental tumor that expresses low levels of MHC class I products, we investigated whether DCs loaded ex vivo with apoptotic tumor cells could elicit combined CD4+ and CD8+ T cell dependent, long term immunity following injection into mice. The bone marrow-derived DCs underwent maturation during overnight coculture with apoptotic melanoma cells. Following injection, DCs migrated to the draining lymph nodes comparably to control DCs at a level corresponding to ∼0.5% of the injected inoculum. Mice vaccinated with tumor-loaded DCs were protected against an intracutaneous challenge with B16, with 80% of the mice remaining tumor-free 12 wk after challenge. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were efficiently primed in vaccinated animals, as evidenced by IFN-γ secretion after in vitro stimulation with DCs loaded with apoptotic B16 or DCs pulsed with the naturally expressed melanoma Ag, tyrosinase-related protein 2. In addition, B16 melanoma cells were recognized by immune CD8 + T cells in vitro, and cytolytic activity against tyrosinase-related protein 2180-188-pulsed target cells was observed in vivo. When either CD4+ or CD8+ T cells were depleted at the time of challenge, the protection was completely abrogated. Mice receiving a tumor challenge 10 wk after vaccination were also protected, consistent with the induction of tumor-specific memory. Therefore, DCs loaded with cells undergoing apoptotic death can prime melanoma-specific helper and CTLs and provide long term protection against a poorly immunogenic tumor in mice.


Open Access