In vivo elimination of CD25+ regulatory T cells leads to tumor rejection of B16F10 melanoma, when combined with interleukin-12 gene transfer

Exp Dermatol. 2004 Oct;13(10):613-20. doi: 10.1111/j.0906-6705.2004.00198.x.


CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells are an important population that plays a crucial role in the maintenance of peripheral self-tolerance. Recently, it was shown that the elimination of these cells by in vivo administration of anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody (mAb) caused the regression of highly immunogenic tumors in syngeneic mice. In this study, we examined whether B16F10 melanoma cells regressed with the elimination of CD25(+) regulatory T cells. We found the melanoma cells were not affected at all by in vivo anti-CD25 mAb administration alone but tumor rejection resulted in all mice when the administration was combined with IL-12 gene transfer to tumor cells. In vivo, depletion of natural killer (NK) cells or CD8(+) T cells cancelled the tumor rejection. NK-cell depletion allowed IL-12-transfected B16F10 melanoma (B16/IL-12) to grow from an early stage and resulted in a more rapid tumor growth of B16/IL-12 than that in mice without administration of anti-CD25 mAb. On the other hand, CD8(+) T-cell depletion did not affect the tumor growth in the early phase but allowed B16/IL-12 to grow in rather a late phase and resulted in almost the same degree of tumor growth as in mice without administration of anti-CD25 mAb. In a previous study, we showed that the elimination of CD4(+) T cells enhanced the antitumor effect of B16/IL-12 and induced vitiligo-like coat color alteration. Therefore, we also examined the frequency of the change to a vitiligo-like coat color in mice showing tumor rejection caused by CD25(+) T-cell elimination to compare with the mechanism enhancing the antitumor effects by cell elimination. The elimination of CD25(+) T cells did not induce vitiligo-like coat color changes, though that of CD4(+) T cells induced the change in 60% of mice. Furthermore, we confirmed that elimination of CD25(+) T cells did not affect the T-helper (Th) 1/Th2 cytokine profile, while that of CD4(+)T cells abrogated the Th2 cytokines (IL-4 and IL-10) and resulted in a Th1-dominant cytokine profile in the tumor-draining lymph nodes (TDLNs) of B16/IL-12-bearing mice. These results indicate that in vivo depletion of CD25(+) regulatory T cells is a potent useful adjuvant in immunotherapy of B16F10 melanoma, when combined with IL-12 gene transfer and that the enhancement of the antitumor effect by CD25(+) T-cell depletion is mediated through CD8(+) T cells and may differ from the enhancing mechanism caused by CD4(+) T-cell depletion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Interleukin-12 / genetics
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Lymphocyte Depletion*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-12