Mature dendritic cells boost functionally superior CD8(+) T-cell in humans without foreign helper epitopes

J Clin Invest. 2000 Mar;105(6):R9-R14. doi: 10.1172/JCI9051.


We have recently shown that a single injection of mature, antigen-pulsed, human dendritic cells (DCs) rapidly elicits CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell immunity in vivo. The DCs were pulsed with 2 foreign proteins, keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) and tetanus toxoid (TT), as well as an HLA A2.1-restricted influenza matrix peptide (MP). Responses to all 3 antigens peaked at 30-90 days after immunization and declined thereafter. To determine if the foreign helper proteins (TT and KLH) were essential for CD8(+) T-cell responses to the viral peptide, we reinjected 3 of the HLA-2.1 subjects with mature DCs pulsed with MP alone. All 3 volunteers showed a rapid boost in MP-specific immunity, and freshly sampled blood from 1 contained cytolytic T cells. In all 3 subjects, CD8(+) T-cell responses to booster DCs were faster and of greater magnitude than the responses to the first DC injection. Importantly, the T cells that proliferated after booster DC treatment secreted interferon-gamma upon challenge with much lower doses of viral peptide than those elicited after the first injection, indicating a higher functional avidity for the ligand. These data begin to outline the kinetics of T-cell immunity in response to DCs and demonstrate that booster injections of mature DCs enhance both qualitative and quantitative aspects of CD8(+) T-cell function in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology*
  • Dendritic Cells / transplantation
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • HLA-A2 Antigen / immunology
  • Hemocyanins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Tetanus Toxoid / immunology
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology


  • Enterotoxins
  • Epitopes
  • HLA-A2 Antigen
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • influenza matrix peptide MAT(17-31)
  • enterotoxin A, Staphylococcal
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Hemocyanins
  • keyhole-limpet hemocyanin