Adoptive T-cell transfer has been shown to be a potentially effective strategy for cellular immunotherapy in some murine models of disease. However, several issues remain unresolved regarding some of the basic features involved in effective adoptive transfer, such as the influence of specific peptide antigen (Ag) boost after T-cell transfer, the addition of IL-2 post-T-cell transfer, the trafficking of transferred T cells to lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues, and the functional stability of recoverable CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. We investigated several of these parameters, particularly as they relate to the persistence and maintenance of effector functions of murine CD4(+) and/or CD8(+) T lymphocytes after adoptive cellular transfer into partially gamma-irradiated syngeneic hosts. Our laboratory previously identified murine (H-2(d)) immunogenic CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell peptide epitopes reflecting codon 12 ras mutations as tumor-specific Ag. Therefore, the model system chosen here employed epitope-specific MHC class II-restricted CD4(+) T cells and MHC class I-restricted CD8(+) T cells produced from previously immunized BALB/c mice. Between 2 and 7 days after T-cell transfer, recipient mice received various combinations of peptide boosts and/or IL-2 treatments. At different times after the T-cell transfer, spleen and lung tissues were analyzed phenotypically to monitor the persistence of the immune T cells and functionally (via proliferation or cytotoxicity assays) to assess the maintenance of peptide specificity. The results showed that immune donor T lymphocytes (uncultured immune T cells or cloned T cells) were recoverable from the spleens and lungs of recipient mice after transfer. The recovery of Ag-specific T-cell responses was greatest from recipient mice that received peptide boosts and IL-2 treatment. However, mice that received a peptide boost without IL-2 treatment responded nearly as well, which suggested that including a peptide boost after T-cell transfer was more obligatory than exogenous IL-2 treatment to sustain adoptively transferred T cells in vivo. Ag-specific T-cell responses were weak in mice that either received IL-2 alone or did not receive the cognate peptide boost after T-cell transfer. The T-cell clones were also monitored by flow cytometry or RT-PCR based on expression of the T-cell receptor Vbeta-chain, which was previously characterized. Ag-specific T cells were recovered from both spleens and lungs of recipient mice, demonstrating that the T-cell clones could localize to both lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues. This study demonstrates that both uncultured and in vitro-cloned T lymphocytes can migrate to lymphoid tissues and nonlymphoid (e.g., lung) tissues in recipient hosts and that their functional activities can be maintained at these sites after transfer, if they are exposed to peptide Ag in vivo.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.