ABSTRACT: Dendritic cell (DC)-based immunization is a potent strategy to direct prompt and durable immune responses against viral reactivations after transplantations. Here, we show that overnight lentiviral vector (LV) gene transfer into human monocytes co-expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor and interleukin (IL)-4 induced self-differentiated DCs (SMART-DCs) with stable DC immunophenotype over weeks in culture and secreted several inflammatory cytokines. SMART-DCs injected subcutaneously in immunodeficient NOD.Rag1(-/-).IL2rγ(-/-) (NRG) mice 1 day after LV transduction were stable for a month in vivo. "Conventional" DCs (cDCs) and SMART-DCs were compared with regard to their potency to accelerate the expansion, biodistribution, and antigenic stimulation of autologous human T cells. Peripheral blood cells obtained from human cytomegalovirus (hCMV)-reactive donors and full-length hCMV pp65 antigenic protein or peptides were used. DCs loaded with pp65 were administered subcutaneously into NRG mice as a preconditioning treatment a week prior to intravenous infusion with T cells. Optical imaging analyses demonstrated that in mice preconditioned with SMART-DC-pp65, T cells were directly recruited to the immunization site and subsequently spread to the spleen and other organs. A dramatic expansion of both human CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells could be observed within a few days after infusion, and this was associated with consistent measurable CD8(+) effector memory T-cell responses against different pp65 epitopes. Thus, this mouse model demonstrates the proof-of-principle for SMART-DCs to accelerate expansion of human lymphocytes, resulting in poly-functional and antigen-specific immune responses against hCMV-pp65.
Human gene therapy 05/2011; 22(10):1209-24. · 4.20 Impact Factor