Collagen II-pulsed antigen-presenting cells genetically modified to secrete IL-4 down-regulate collagen-induced arthritis

Gene Ther. 2001 Dec;8(24):1855-62. doi: 10.1038/


We explored the possibility that pulsed antigen-presenting cells (APC) provide a model vector system for site-specific delivery of immunosuppressive proteins during collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), an animal model for rheumatoid arthritis. Thus, mice were treated with either B cells or macrophages engineered to secrete IL-4 and loaded (or not) with type II collagen (CII). Systemic injection of an IL-4-producing B cell hybridoma resulted in a reduction of arthritis severity which was further improved when APC were incubated with CII before their transfer. Unmanipulated B cells loaded with CII also exerted a potent suppressive effect. Likely, clinical amelioration was observed in mice given at priming syngeneic bone marrow-derived macrophages producing IL-4 and pulsed with CII in comparison to the other groups. When the same dose of cells was transferred at disease onset, a moderate beneficial effect was observed. Whatever the APC inoculated, the beneficial effect did not rely upon an IL-4-driven shift towards Th2 phenotype. Systemic administration of fluorescent dye labeled macrophages to arthritic mice has shown that some of these cells rapidly migrate to joints. Moreover, IL-4 transfected macrophages retained their potent capacity to present CII peptides to T cells. These findings validate the use of CII peptide-loaded engineered APC as therapeutic vector cells in CIA and allow consideration of this strategy for the administration of various anti-inflammatory proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / transplantation*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / therapy*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Collagen
  • Collagen Type II / metabolism*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA


  • Collagen Type II
  • Interleukin-4
  • Collagen