Streptococcus salivarius-mediated CD8+ T cell stimulation required antigen presentation by macrophages in oral squamous cell carcinoma

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It has been shown that the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients presented cytotoxic CD8 T cell response against Streptococcus salivarius (S. salivarius), of which the frequency was positively associated with recurrence-free survival in OSCC patients. To identify the conditions required for regulating S. salivarius-specific CD8 T cell-mediated cytotoxicity, we selectively depleted individual components of the PBMCs, and observed that the depletion of monocytes/macrophages, but not other immune cell subsets, significantly downregulated the S. salivarius-specific CD8 T cell cytotoxicity. Monocyte/macrophage alone was sufficient to reconstitute optimal granzyme B expression from S. salivarius-specific CD8 T cells. Also, both the memory and the naive CD8 T cells reacted to S. salivarius-stimulation, with the memory CD8 T cells presenting significantly higher S. salivarius-reactivity. Using M1- and M2-polarized macrophages from circulating monocytes, we found that M1-polarized macrophages, with significantly higher IL-12 expression and significantly lower IL-10 and MHC class II molecule expression, was more effective at promoting granzyme B responses in CD8 T cells, and required CD80/CD86 costimulating molecules for optimal responses. Interestingly, the tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) from resected tumors presented characteristics of M2-polarized macrophages with high MHC class II expression and low IL-12 secretion. The frequency of tumor-infiltrating S. salivarius-specific cytotoxic CD8 T cell was inversely correlated with the level of IL-10 secretion and the MHC class II molecule expression in autologous TAMs. Together, we demonstrated that monocyte/macrophages presented essential antigen-presentation and costimulatory roles in CD8 T cell-mediated S. salivarius-specific granzyme B responses, and the polarization of macrophages could influence the potency of CD8 T cell responses.

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