Scientific publications

Upregulation of natural killer cells functions underlies the efficacy of intratumorally injected dendritic cells engineered to produce interleukin-12

Mar 1, 2002 | Magazine: Experimental Hematology

Rodríguez-Calvillo M, Duarte M, Tirapu I, Berraondo P, Mazzolini G, Qian C, Prieto J, Melero I.

Injection of dendritic cells (DC) engineered with recombinant adenoviral vectors to produce interleukin-12 (IL-12) inside experimental murine tumors frequently achieves complete regressions. In such a system the function of CD8(+) T cells has been shown to be an absolute requirement, in contrast to observations made upon depletion of CD4(+) T cells, which minimally affected the outcome. The aim of this work was to study the possible involvement of natural killer (NK) cells in this setting.

Depletions with anti-AsialoGM1 antiserum showed only a small decrease in the proportion of complete regressions obtained that correlated with induction of NK activities in lymphatic tissues into which DC migrate, whereas combined depletions of CD4(+) and NK cells completely eliminated the antitumor effects. Likewise in vivo neutralization of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) also eliminated those therapeutic effects. Trying to define the cellular role played by NK cells in vivo, it was observed that injection of cultured DC inside the spleen of T- and B-cell-deficient (Rag1(-/-)) mice induced upregulation of NK activity only if DC had been adenovirally engineered to produce IL-12. In addition, identically transfected fibroblasts also activated NK cells, indicating that IL-12 transfection was the unique requirement. Equivalent human DC only activated in vitro the cytolytic and cytokine-secreting functions of autologous NK cells if transfected to express human IL-12.

Overall, these results point out an important role played by NK cell activation in the potent immunotherapeutic effects elicited by intratumoral injection of IL-12--secreting DC and that NK activation under these conditions is mainly, if not only, dependent on IL-12.

CITATION  Exp Hematol. 2002 Mar;30(3):195-204.  doi: 10.1016/s0301-472x(01)00792-5.