Depletion of CD4+CD25+ Regulatory Cells Augments the Generation of Specific Immune T Cells in Tumor-Draining Lymph Nodes

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Summary:Recent studies have identified a unique population of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells that is crucial for the prevention of spontaneous autoimmune diseases. Further studies demonstrated that depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells enhances immune responses to nonself antigens. Because immune responses to malignant tumors are weak and ineffective, depletion of regulatory T cells has been reported to result in tumor regression. In the current study, using the weakly immunogenic MCA205 sarcoma and the poorly immunogenic B16/BL6/D5 (D5) melanoma, depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells by the administration of anti-CD25 monoclonal antibodies (mAb), PC61 induced some tumor growth retardation, but all mice eventually succumbed to tumors. In our laboratory, immunotherapy by the transfer of tumor-immune T cells has demonstrated potent antitumor effects. A reliable source of tumor-reactive T cells has been lymph nodes (LN) draining progressive tumors. Therapeutic effector T cells can be generated by in vitro activation of draining LN cells with anti-CD3 mAb followed by culture in interleukin-2. In this system, PC61 mAb depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells before or on day 8 of tumor growth resulted in increased sensitization in the draining LN. The therapeutic efficacy of activated tumor-draining LN cells from mAb depleted mice increased approximately three fold while maintaining specificity when tested in adoptive immunotherapy of established pulmonary metastases. Specific interferon-gamma secretion by LN T cells from mice treated with PC61 mAb 1 day before tumor inoculation increased significantly. However, this increase was not demonstrated with LN T cells from mice treated on day 8 despite their enhanced therapeutic reactivities. Our results indicate that although the antitumor immunity enhanced by the depletion of CD4+CD25+ T cells is insufficient to eradicate tumors, it augments the sensitization of immune T cells in the draining LN, thus, facilitating adoptive immunotherapy.

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