Induction of tumoricidal function in CD4 T cells is associated with concomitant memory and terminally differentiated phenotype

Swim Across America Laboratory, Immunology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, NY 10065.
Journal of Experimental Medicine (Impact Factor: 12.52). 09/2012; 209(11):2113-26. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20120532
Source: PubMed


Harnessing the adaptive immune response to treat malignancy is now a clinical reality. Several strategies are used to treat melanoma; however, very few result in a complete response. CD4(+) T cells are important and potent mediators of anti-tumor immunity and adoptive transfer of specific CD4(+) T cells can promote tumor regression in mice and patients. OX40, a costimulatory molecule expressed primarily on activated CD4(+) T cells, promotes and enhances anti-tumor immunity with limited success on large tumors in mice. We show that OX40 engagement, in the context of chemotherapy-induced lymphopenia, induces a novel CD4(+) T cell population characterized by the expression of the master regulator eomesodermin that leads to both terminal differentiation and central memory phenotype, with concomitant secretion of Th1 and Th2 cytokines. This subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells eradicates very advanced melanomas in mice, and an analogous population of human tumor-specific CD4(+) T cells can kill melanoma in an in vitro system. The potency of the therapy extends to support a bystander killing effect of antigen loss variants. Our results show that these uniquely programmed effector CD4(+) T cells have a distinctive phenotype with increased tumoricidal capability and support the use of immune modulation in reprogramming the phenotype of CD4(+) T cells.

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Available from: Jianda D Yuan
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    • "To analyze killing activity on a per cell basis, we used the degranulation assay, marked by appearance of CD107a/b on the cell surface of effector cells as degranulation occurs after restimulation with peptide pulsed target cells [11], [14], [24], [26], [37]. We also analyzed expression of NKG2A/C/E [38], [39] and intracellular expression of Eomesodermin [24]–[26] as additional markers of cytolytic potential in CD4 effector cells. Figure 6A and 6C indicate that CD25+/− CD4 cells migrate to the lung at lower numbers than WT cells and demonstrate lower levels of GrB expression (Fig. 6A and 6D). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cytolytic CD4 T cells (CD4 CTL) have been identified in vivo in response to viral infections; however, the factors necessary for driving the cytolytic phenotype have not been fully elucidated. Our previously published work suggests IL-2 may be the master regulator of perforin-mediated cytotoxicity in CD4 effectors. To further dissect the role of IL-2 in CD4 CTL generation, T cell receptor transgenic mice deficient in the ability to produce IL-2 or the high affinity IL-2 receptor (IL-2Rα, CD25) were used. Increasing concentrations of IL-2 were necessary to drive perforin (Prf) expression and maximal cytotoxicity. Granzyme B (GrB) expression and killing correlated with STAT5 activation and CD25 expression in vitro, suggesting that signaling through the high affinity IL-2R is critical for full cytotoxicity. IL-2 signaling was also necessary in vivo for inducing the Th1 phenotype and IFN-γ expression in CD4 T cells during influenza A (IAV) infection. In addition, GrB expression, as measured by mean fluorescent intensity, was decreased in CD25 deficient cells; however, the frequency of CD4 cells expressing GrB was unchanged. Similarly, analysis of cytolytic markers such as CD107a/b and Eomesodermin indicate high IL-2Rα expression is not necessary to drive the CD4 CTL phenotype during IAV infection. Thus, inflammatory signals induced by viral infection may overcome the need for strong IL-2 signals in driving cytotoxicity in CD4 cells.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Definitely, the role for CD4+ T cells as effectors in antitumor immunity should be further intensively investigated, because—due to the complex biology of these cells—many issues still remain unexplained. The identification and characterization of their subclass acting as cytotoxic effectors, if it really exists as suggested [5] [29] "
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    ABSTRACT: In the recent past, it has repeatedly been reported that CD4 cells play an important role in the immunology of chronic myeloid leukaemia. It was therefore of interest to test their activity in an animal model using bcr-abl-transformed cells. BALB/c mice were four times immunized with a DNA vaccine carrying the bcr-abl fusion gene. Two weeks after the last vaccine dose, the animals were challenged with syngeneic bcr-abl-transformed 12B1 cells which form solid tumors after subcutaneous administration. At the time of challenge, animals were treated with antibodies against the CD8+ T cells or CD4+ T cells. The efficacy of the depletion was monitored and found highly effective. All nonimmunized animals developed tumors. All animals untreated with the antibodies as well as those in which CD8+ T cells had been depleted, were fully protected against the challenge. On the other hand, almost all mice treated with anti-CD4+ antibody developed tumors. These results strongly suggested that the CD4+ T cells acted as effectors in the present system.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Clinical and Developmental Immunology
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    • "However, the role and relative contribution of CD4+ T cells to immune responses generated against cancer in vivo in response to active vaccination remains to be fully elucidated. Although CD4+T cells have been shown to have direct killing activity against tumor in selected settings [5], it is a common consensus that these cells show their full potential by coordinating effector arms of the immune responses, i.e., helper function. The concept of T cell ‘help’ originated in the 1970 s when it was demonstrated that B cell activation required interactions with CD4+ T helper (Th) cells [6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of CD4(+) T cells in the generation of therapeutic primary and memory immune responses in cancer diverse immunotherapy settings remains ambiguous. We herein investigated this issue using two vaccine formulations containing a novel costimulatory molecule, SA-4-1BBL, as adjuvant and HPV E7 or survivin (SVN) as tumor associated antigens (TAAs) in two mouse transplantable tumor models; the TC-1 cervical cancer expressing xenogeneic HPV E7 and 3LL lung carcinoma overexpressing autologous SVN. Single vaccination with optimized SA-4-1BBL/TAA formulations resulted in the eradication of 6-day established TC-1 and 3LL tumors in >70% of mice in both models. The in vivo depletion of CD4(+) T cells one day before tumor challenge resulted in compromised vaccine efficacy in both TC-1 (25%) and 3LL (12.5%) tumor models. In marked contrast, depletion of CD4(+) T cells 5 days post-tumor challenge and one day prior to vaccination did not significantly alter the therapeutic efficacy of these vaccines. However, long-term immunological memory was compromised in the 3LL, but not in TC-1 model as a significant number (85.7%) of tumor free-mice succumbed to tumor growth when rechallenged with 3LL cells 60 days after the initial tumor inoculation. Collectively, these results demonstrate the indispensable role CD4(+) T cells play in the generation of therapeutic primary immune responses elicited by SA-4-1BBL/TAA-based vaccines irrespective of the nature of TAAs and establish the importance of CD4(+) T cells for long-term immune memory against 3LL tumor expressing self-antigen SVN, but not TC-1 expressing xenogeneic viral antigen E7.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · PLoS ONE
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