[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are rare, multipotent cells that generate via progenitor and precursor cells of all blood lineages. Similar to normal hematopoiesis, leukemia is also hierarchically organized and a subpopulation of leukemic cells, the leukemic stem cells (LSCs), is responsible for disease initiation and maintenance and gives rise to more differentiated malignant cells. Although genetically abnormal, LSCs share many characteristics with normal HSCs, including quiescence, multipotency and self-renewal. Normal HSCs reside in a specialized microenvironment in the bone marrow (BM), the so-called HSC niche that crucially regulates HSC survival and function. Many cell types including osteoblastic, perivascular, endothelial and mesenchymal cells contribute to the HSC niche. In addition, the BM functions as primary and secondary lymphoid organ and hosts various mature immune cell types, including T and B cells, dendritic cells and macrophages that contribute to the HSC niche. Signals derived from the HSC niche are necessary to regulate demand-adapted responses of HSCs and progenitor cells after BM stress or during infection. LSCs occupy similar niches and depend on signals from the BM microenvironment. However, in addition to the cell types that constitute the HSC niche during homeostasis, in leukemia the BM is infiltrated by activated leukemia-specific immune cells. Leukemic cells express different antigens that are able to activate CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. It is well documented that activated T cells can contribute to the control of leukemic cells and it was hoped that these cells may be able to target and eliminate the therapy-resistant LSCs. However, the actual interaction of leukemia-specific T cells with LSCs remains ill-defined. Paradoxically, many immune mechanisms that evolved to activate emergency hematopoiesis during infection may actually contribute to the expansion and differentiation of LSCs, promoting leukemia progression. In this review, we summarize mechanisms by which the immune system regulates HSCs and LSCs.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 4 July 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.89.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells (CTLs) play a major role in host defense against intracellular pathogens, but a complete clearance of pathogens and return to homeostasis requires the regulated interplay of the innate and acquired immune systems. Here, we show that interferon γ (IFNγ) secreted by effector CTLs stimulates hematopoiesis at the level of early multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cells and induces myeloid differentiation. IFNγ did not primarily affect hematopoietic stem or progenitor cells directly. Instead, it promoted the release of hematopoietic cytokines, including interleukin 6 from bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in the hematopoietic stem cell niche, which in turn reduced the expression of the transcription factors Runx-1 and Cebpα in early hematopoietic progenitor cells and increased myeloid differentiation. Therefore, our study indicates that, during an acute viral infection, CTLs indirectly modulate early multipotent hematopoietic progenitors via MSCs in order to trigger the temporary activation of emergency myelopoiesis and promote clearance of the infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Survivin is a member of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis family. Essential for tumor cell survival and overexpressed in most cancers, survivin is a promising target for anti-cancer immunotherapy. Immunogenicity has been demonstrated in multiple cancers. Nonetheless, few clinical trials have demonstrated survivin-vaccine-induced immune responses.
This phase I trial was conducted to test whether vaccine EMD640744, a cocktail of five HLA class I-binding survivin peptides in Montanide(®) ISA 51 VG, promotes anti-survivin T-cell responses in patients with solid cancers. The primary objective was to compare immunologic efficacy of EMD640744 at doses of 30, 100, and 300 μg. Secondary objectives included safety, tolerability, and clinical efficacy.
In total, 49 patients who received ≥2 EMD640744 injections with available baseline- and ≥1 post-vaccination samples [immunologic-diagnostic (ID)-intention-to-treat] were analyzed by ELISpot- and peptide/MHC-multimer staining, revealing vaccine-activated peptide-specific T-cell responses in 31 patients (63 %). This cohort included the per study protocol relevant ID population for the primary objective, i.e., T-cell responses by ELISpot in 17 weeks following first vaccination, as well as subjects who discontinued the study before week 17 but showed responses to the treatment. No dose-dependent effects were observed. In the majority of patients (61 %), anti-survivin responses were detected only after vaccination, providing evidence for de novo induction. Best overall tumor response was stable disease (28 %). EMD640744 was well tolerated; local injection-site reactions constituted the most frequent adverse event.
Vaccination with EMD640744 elicited T-cell responses against survivin peptides in the majority of patients, demonstrating the immunologic efficacy of EMD640744.
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 02/2014; · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (TREM-1) is a potent amplifier of pro-inflammatory innate immune reactions. While TREM-1-amplified responses likely aid an improved detection and elimination of pathogens, excessive production of cytokines and oxygen radicals can also severely harm the host. Studies addressing the pathogenic role of TREM-1 during endotoxin-induced shock or microbial sepsis have so far mostly relied on the administration of TREM-1 fusion proteins or peptides representing part of the extracellular domain of TREM-1. However, binding of these agents to the yet unidentified TREM-1 ligand could also impact signaling through alternative receptors. More importantly, controversial results have been obtained regarding the requirement of TREM-1 for microbial control. To unambiguously investigate the role of TREM-1 in homeostasis and disease, we have generated mice deficient in Trem1. Trem1(-/-) mice are viable, fertile and show no altered hematopoietic compartment. In CD4(+) T cell- and dextran sodium sulfate-induced models of colitis, Trem1(-/-) mice displayed significantly attenuated disease that was associated with reduced inflammatory infiltrates and diminished expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Trem1(-/-) mice also exhibited reduced neutrophilic infiltration and decreased lesion size upon infection with Leishmania major. Furthermore, reduced morbidity was observed for influenza virus-infected Trem1(-/-) mice. Importantly, while immune-associated pathologies were significantly reduced, Trem1(-/-) mice were equally capable of controlling infections with L. major, influenza virus, but also Legionella pneumophila as Trem1(+/+) controls. Our results not only demonstrate an unanticipated pathogenic impact of TREM-1 during a viral and parasitic infection, but also indicate that therapeutic blocking of TREM-1 in distinct inflammatory disorders holds considerable promise by blunting excessive inflammation while preserving the capacity for microbial control.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferons not only exert a fundamental role during inflammation and immune responses but also modulate the activity of hematopoietic stem cells during homeostatic and demand-adapted hematopoiesis. Identical mechanisms regulate the homeostasis and proliferation of leukemic stem cells (LSCs). Understanding these mechanisms may lead to novel therapeutic approaches against leukemia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a clonal myeloproliferative neoplasia arising from the oncogenic break point cluster region/Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1 translocation in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), resulting in a leukemia stem cell (LSC). Curing CML depends on the eradication of LSCs. Unfortunately, LSCs are resistant to current treatment strategies. The host's immune system is thought to contribute to disease control, and several immunotherapy strategies are under investigation. However, the interaction of the immune system with LSCs is poorly defined. In the present study, we use a murine CML model to show that LSCs express major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and co-stimulatory molecules and are recognized and killed by leukemia-specific CD8(+) effector CTLs in vitro. In contrast, therapeutic infusions of effector CTLs into CML mice in vivo failed to eradicate LSCs but, paradoxically, increased LSC numbers. LSC proliferation and differentiation was induced by CTL-secreted IFN-γ. Effector CTLs were only able to eliminate LSCs in a situation with minimal leukemia load where CTL-secreted IFN-γ levels were low. In addition, IFN-γ increased proliferation and colony formation of CD34(+) stem/progenitor cells from CML patients in vitro. Our study reveals a novel mechanism by which the immune system contributes to leukemia progression and may be important to improve T cell-based immunotherapy against leukemia.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2013; · 13.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immune system is able to specifically target antigen-expressing cancer cells. The promise of immunotherapy was to eliminate cancer cells without harming normal tissue and, therefore, with no or very few side effects. Immunotherapy approaches have, for several decades, been tested against several tumours, most often against malignant melanoma. However, although detectable immune responses have regularly been induced, the clinical outcome has often been disappointing. The development of molecular methods and an improved understanding of tumour immunosurveillance led to novel immunotherapy approaches in the last few years. First randomised phase III trials proved that immunotherapy can prolong survival of patients with metastatic melanoma or prostate cancer. The development in the field is very rapid and various molecules (mainly monoclonal antibodies) that activate the immune system are currently being tested in clinical trials and will possibly change our treatment of cancer. The ultimate goal of any cancer therapy and also immunotherapy is to cure cancer. However, this depends on the elimination of the disease originating cancer stem cells. Unfortunately, cancer stem cells seem resistant to most available treatment options. Recent developments in immunotherapy may allow targeting these cancer stem cells specifically in the future. In this review, we summarise the current state of immunotherapy in clinical routine and the expected developments in the near future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute and chronic myeloid leukemia (AML, CML) are hematologic malignancies arising from oncogene-transformed hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells known as leukemia stem cells (LSCs). LSCs are selectively resistant to various forms of therapy including irradiation or cytotoxic drugs. The introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors has dramatically improved disease outcome in patients with CML. For AML, however, prognosis is still quite dismal. Standard treatments have been established more than 20 years ago with only limited advances ever since. Durable remission is achieved in less than 30% of patients. Minimal residual disease (MRD), reflected by the persistence of LSCs below the detection limit by conventional methods, causes a high rate of disease relapses. Therefore, the ultimate goal in the treatment of myeloid leukemia must be the eradication of LSCs. Active immunotherapy, aiming at the generation of leukemia-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), may represent a powerful approach to target LSCs in the MRD situation. To fully activate CTLs, leukemia antigens have to be successfully captured, processed, and presented by mature dendritic cells (DCs). Myeloid progenitors are a prominent source of DCs under homeostatic conditions, and it is now well established that LSCs and leukemic blasts can give rise to "malignant" DCs. These leukemia-derived DCs can express leukemia antigens and may either induce anti-leukemic T cell responses or favor tolerance to the leukemia, depending on co-stimulatory or -inhibitory molecules and cytokines. This review will concentrate on the role of DCs in myeloid leukemia immunotherapy with a special focus on their generation, application, and function and how they could be improved in order to generate highly effective and specific anti-leukemic CTL responses. In addition, we discuss how DC-based immunotherapy may be successfully integrated into current treatment strategies to promote remission and potentially cure myeloid leukemias.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD27 signaling can either improve T-cell function or lead to T-cell dysfunction, depending on the duration and conditions of receptor ligation. Recent studies have shown that modulating the CD70-CD27 interaction is an attractive strategy to treat solid tumors and also to directly target leukemia stem cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signaling of the TNF receptor superfamily member CD27 activates costimulatory pathways to elicit T- and B-cell responses. CD27 signaling is regulated by the expression of its ligand CD70 on subsets of dendritic cells and lymphocytes. Here, we analyzed the role of the CD27-CD70 interaction in the immunologic control of solid tumors in Cd27-deficient mice. In tumor-bearing wild-type mice, the CD27-CD70 interaction increased the frequency of regulatory T cells (Tregs), reduced tumor-specific T-cell responses, increased angiogenesis, and promoted tumor growth. CD27 signaling reduced apoptosis of Tregs in vivo and induced CD4(+) effector T cells (Teffs) to produce interleukin-2, a key survival factor for Tregs. Consequently, the frequency of Tregs and growth of solid tumors were reduced in Cd27-deficient mice or in wild-type mice treated with monoclonal antibody to block CD27 signaling. Our findings, therefore, provide a novel mechanism by which the adaptive immune system enhances tumor growth and may offer an attractive strategy to treat solid tumors.
Cancer Research 05/2012; 72(14):3664-76. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) results from a chromosomal translocation in hematopoietic stem or early progenitor cells that gives rise to the oncogenic BCR/ABL fusion protein. Clinically, CML has a chronic phase that eventually evolves into an accelerated stage and blast crisis. A CML-specific immune response is thought to contribute to the control of disease. Whether the immune system can also promote disease progression is not known. In the present study, we investigated the possibility that the TNF receptor family member CD27 is present on leukemia stem cells (LSCs) and mediates effects of the immune system on CML. In a mouse model of CML, BCR/ABL+ LSCs and leukemia progenitor cells were found to express CD27. Binding of CD27 by its ligand, CD70, increased expression of Wnt target genes in LSCs by enhancing nuclear localization of active β-catenin and TRAF2- and NCK-interacting kinase (TNIK). This resulted in increased proliferation and differentiation of LSCs. Blocking CD27 signaling in LSCs delayed disease progression and prolonged survival. Furthermore, CD27 was expressed on CML stem/progenitor cells in the bone marrow of CML patients, and CD27 signaling promoted growth of BCR/ABL+ human leukemia cells by activating the Wnt pathway. Since expression of CD70 is limited to activated lymphocytes and dendritic cells, our results reveal a mechanism by which adaptive immunity contributes to leukemia progression. In addition, targeting CD27 on LSCs may represent an attractive therapeutic approach to blocking the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in CML.
The Journal of clinical investigation 02/2012; 122(2):624-38. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methylation of the MGMT promoter is supposed to be a predictive and prognostic factor in glioblastoma. Whether MGMT promoter methylation correlates with tumor response to temozolomide in low-grade gliomas is less clear. Therefore, we analyzed MGMT promoter methylation by a quantitative methylation-specific PCR in 22 patients with histologically verified low-grade gliomas (WHO grade II) who were treated with temozolomide (TMZ) for tumor progression. Objective tumor response, toxicity, and LOH of microsatellite markers on chromosomes 1p and 19q were analyzed. Histological classification revealed ten oligodendrogliomas, seven oligoastrocytomas, and five astrocytomas. All patients were treated with TMZ 200 mg/m2 on days 1-5 in a 4 week cycle. The median progression-free survival was 32 months. Combined LOH 1p and 19q was found in 14 patients; one patient had LOH 1p alone and one patient LOH 19q alone. The LOH status could not be determined in two patients and was normal in the remaining four. LOH 1p and/or 19q correlated with longer time to progression but not with radiological response to TMZ. MGMT promoter methylation was detectable in 20 patients by conventional PCR and quantitative analysis revealed the methylation status was between 12 and 100%. The volumetric response to chemotherapy analyzed by MRI and time to progression correlated with the level of MGMT promoter methylation. Therefore, our retrospective case series suggests that quantitative methylation-specific PCR of the MGMT promoter predicts radiological response to chemotherapy with TMZ in WHO grade II gliomas.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 06/2011; 103(2):343-51. · 3.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immune responses have the important function of host defense and protection against pathogens. However, the immune response also causes inflammation and host tissue injury, termed immunopathology. For example, hepatitis B and C virus infection in humans cause immunopathological sequel with destruction of liver cells by the host's own immune response. Similarly, after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in mice, the adaptive immune response causes liver cell damage, choriomeningitis and destruction of lymphoid organ architecture. The immunopathological sequel during LCMV infection has been attributed to cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells. However, we now show that during LCMV infection CD4(+) T cells selectively induced the destruction of splenic marginal zone and caused liver cell damage with elevated serum alanin-transferase (ALT) levels. The destruction of the splenic marginal zone by CD4(+) T cells included the reduction of marginal zone B cells, marginal zone macrophages and marginal zone metallophilic macrophages. Functionally, this resulted in an impaired production of neutralizing antibodies against LCMV. Furthermore, CD4(+) T cells reduced B cells with an IgM(high)IgD(low) phenotype (transitional stage 1 and 2, marginal zone B cells), whereas other B cell subtypes such as follicular type 1 and 2 and germinal center/memory B cells were not affected. Adoptive transfer of CD4(+) T cells lacking different important effector cytokines and cytolytic pathways such as IFNγ, TNFα, perforin and Fas-FasL interaction did reveal that these cytolytic pathways are redundant in the induction of immunopathological sequel in spleen. In conclusion, our results define an important role of CD4(+) T cells in the induction of immunopathology in liver and spleen. This includes the CD4(+) T cell mediated destruction of the splenic marginal zone with consecutively impaired protective neutralizing antibody responses.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e24772. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a malignant myeloproliferative disease of hematopoietic stem cells. The disease progresses after several years from an initial chronic phase to a blast phase. Leukemia-specific T cells are regularly detected in CML patients and may be involved in the immunological control of the disease. Here, we analyzed the role of leukemia-specific CD8(+) T cells in CML disease control and the mechanism that maintains CD8(+) T-cell immunosurveillance in a retroviral-induced murine CML model. To study antigen-specific immune responses, the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus was used as model leukemia antigen. Leukemia-specific CTL activity was detectable in vivo in CML mice and depletion of CD8(+) T cells rapidly led to disease progression. CML-specific CTL were characterized by the expression of the IL-7 receptor α-chain. In addition, leukemia cells produced IL-7 that was crucial for the maintenance of leukemia-specific CTL and for disease control. Therefore, CML cells maintain the specific CD8(+) T-cell-mediated immune control by IL-7 secretion. This results in prolonged control of disease and probably contributes to the characteristic chronic phase of the disease.
European Journal of Immunology 10/2010; 40(10):2720-30. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) exhibits natural tropism for dendritic cells and represents the prototypic infection that elicits protective CD8(+) T cell (cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)) immunity. Here we have harnessed the immunobiology of this arenavirus for vaccine delivery. By using producer cells constitutively synthesizing the viral glycoprotein (GP), it was possible to replace the gene encoding LCMV GP with vaccine antigens to create replication-defective vaccine vectors. These rLCMV vaccines elicited CTL responses that were equivalent to or greater than those elicited by recombinant adenovirus 5 or recombinant vaccinia virus in their magnitude and cytokine profiles, and they exhibited more effective protection in several models. In contrast to recombinant adenovirus 5, rLCMV failed to elicit vector-specific antibody immunity, which facilitated re-administration of the same vector for booster vaccination. In addition, rLCMV elicited T helper type 1 CD4+ T cell responses and protective neutralizing antibodies to vaccine antigens. These features, together with low seroprevalence in humans, suggest that rLCMV may show utility as a vaccine platform against infectious diseases and cancer.
Nature medicine 02/2010; 16(3):339-45. · 27.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a malignant myeloproliferative disease with a characteristic chronic phase (cp) of several years before progression to blast crisis (bc). The immune system may contribute to disease control in CML. We analyzed leukemia-specific immune responses in cpCML and bcCML in a retroviral-induced murine CML model. In the presence of cpCML and bcCML expressing the glycoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus as a model leukemia antigen, leukemia-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) became exhausted. They maintained only limited cytotoxic activity, and did not produce interferon-gamma or tumor necrosis factor-alpha or expand after restimulation. CML-specific CTLs were characterized by high expression of programmed death 1 (PD-1), whereas CML cells expressed PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1). Blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction by generating bcCML in PD-1-deficient mice or by repetitive administration of alphaPD-L1 antibody prolonged survival. In addition, we found that PD-1 is up-regulated on CD8(+) T cells from CML patients. Taken together, our results suggest that blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction may restore the function of CML-specific CTLs and may represent a novel therapeutic approach for CML.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CTL are induced by two pathways, i.e. direct priming, where tumor cells present tumor antigens to naïve specific CTL, and cross-priming, where professional APC cross-present captured tumor antigens to CTL. Here, we examined direct priming versus cross-priming after immunizing (H-2(b) x H-2(d)) F1 mice with either H-2(b) or H-2(d) positive tumor cells transfected with the GP or nucleoprotein (NP) of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Cross-priming was observed for the immunodominant epitopes LCMV-gp33 and -np118, although direct induction resulted in higher CTL frequencies. In contrast, CTL specific for the subdominant epitopes LCMV-gp283 or -np396 were induced only if epitopes were presented directly on MHC class I molecules of the immunizing cell. The broader repertoire and the higher CTL frequencies induced after vaccination with haplotype-matched tumor cells resulted in more efficient anti-tumor and antiviral protection. Firstly, our results indicate that certain virus and tumor antigens may not be detected by CD8(+) T cells because of impaired cross-priming. Secondly, efficient cross-priming contributes to the immunodominant nature of a tumor-specific CTL epitope. Thirdly, vaccine strategies using autologous or syngenic antigen-expressing cells induce a broader repertoire of tumor-specific CTL and higher CTL frequencies.
European Journal of Immunology 03/2009; 39(3):704-16. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a malignant myeloproliferative disease arising from a hematopoietic stem cell expressing the BCR/ABL fusion protein. Leukemic and dendritic cells (DCs) develop from the same transformed hematopoietic progenitors. How BCR/ABL interferes with the immunoregulatory function of DCs in vivo is unknown. We analyzed the function of BCR/ABL-expressing DCs in a retroviral-induced murine CML model using the glycoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus as a model leukemia antigen. BCR/ABL-expressing DCs were found in bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, and blood of CML mice. They were characterized by a low maturation status and induced only limited expansion of naive and memory cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). In addition, immunization with in vitro-generated BCR/ABL-expressing DCs induced lower frequencies of specific CTLs than immunization with control DCs. BCR/ABL-expressing DCs preferentially homed to the thymus, whereas only few BCR/ABL-expressing DCs reached the spleen. Our results indicate that BCR/ABL-expressing DCs do not efficiently induce CML-specific T-cell responses resulting from low DC maturation and impaired homing to secondary lymphoid organs. In addition, BCR/ABL-expressing DCs in the thymus may contribute to CML-specific tolerance induction of specific CTLs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CD4+ T cell help during the priming of CD8+ T lymphocytes imprints the capacity for optimal secondary expansion upon re-encounter with antigen. Helped memory CD8+ T cells rapidly expand in response to a secondary antigen exposure, even in the absence of T cell help and, are most efficient in protection against a re-infection. In contrast, helpless memory CTL can mediate effector function, but secondary expansion is reduced. How CD4+ T cells instruct CD8+ memory T cells during priming to undergo efficient secondary expansion has not been resolved in detail. Here, we show that memory CTL after infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus are CD27(high) whereas memory CTL primed in the absence of CD4+ T cell have a reduced expression of CD27. Helpless memory CTL produced low amounts of IL-2 and did not efficiently expand after restimulation with peptide in vitro. Blocking experiments with monoclonal antibodies and the use of CD27(-/-) memory CTL revealed that CD27 ligation during restimulation increased autocrine IL-2 production and secondary expansion. Therefore, regulating CD27 expression on memory CTL is a novel mechanism how CD4+ T cells control CTL memory.
European Journal of Immunology 08/2008; 38(7):1847-56. · 4.97 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural antibodies (NA) specific for infectious pathogens are found at low titer (usually <1:40) in the serum of healthy, non-immunized, individuals. Therefore, NA are part of the first line of defence against blood borne microorganisms. They directly neutralize viral infections or lyse pathogens by activating the complement cascade. In addition, recent studies highlighted their role in the pooling of infectious pathogens and other antigens to the spleen. This prevents infection of vital target organs and enhances the induction of adaptive immune responses. Specific T and B-cell responses are exclusively induced in highly organized secondary lymphoid organs including lymph nodes and the spleen. As a consequence, mice with disrupted microorganisation of lymphoid organs have defective adaptive immunity. In addition, some pathogens including lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), Leishmania and HIV developed strategies to destroy the splenic architecture in order to induce an acquired immunosuppression and to establish persistent infection. NA antibodies enhance early neutralizing antibodies in the absence of T help mainly by targeting antigen to the splenic marginal zone. In addition, by activating the complement cascade, NA enhance T cell and T-cell dependent B-cell responses. Therefore, natural antibodies are an important link between innate and adaptive immunity.