Cytokine production by CD4+ T-cells responding to antigen presentation by melanoma cells

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Melanoma cells are unusual because, unlike most epithelial tumours, constitutive expression of HLA class II antigens Is common. We have previously demonstrated that a peptide-specific CD4+ T-cell clone proliferates briskly in response to peptide and HLA class II expressing melanoma cell lines derived from metastases. Here we demonstrate that these CD4+ T-cells secrete large amounts of Interferon-γ (IFNγ) and interleukin-10 (IL10), and insignificant quantities of IL2 or IL4, In response to peptide presentation by both melanoma and autologous B-cells. T-cells produced more IL10 when responding to peptide presentation by melanoma cells compared with B-cells, and less IFNγ (P < 0.01). Addition of IL12 did not alter the cytokines produced but increased the T-cell production of both, especially the production of IL10 in response to peptide presentation by melanoma cells. Our data suggest that differential cytokine production by CD4+ T-cells in response to peptide presentation by HLA class II expressing tumour cells may contribute to tolerance to tumour antigens.

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