Background: Cancer patients can exhibit negligible responses to prophylactic vaccinations, including influenza vaccination. To help address this issue, we developed in vitro and in vivo models of dendritic cell (DC) immunotherapy for the prevention of influenza virus infection.
Methods: Human cord blood (CB)-derived or mouse splenocyte-derived DCs were loaded with purified recombinant hemagglutinin (rHA). T-cell responses to HA-loaded CB-derived DCs were determined by ELISpot. Protective efficacy was determined by vaccination of BALB/c mice with a single injection of 10(6) autologous DCs. DC migration to peripheral lymphoid organs was verified by carboxyfluorescein succinimidyl ester staining, and HA-specific antibody titers were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Mice were then challenged intranasally with BALB/c-adapted A/New Caledonia influenza virus derived from four consecutive lung pool passages. Antigen-presenting cell (APC) dysfunction was modeled using the MAFIA transgenic system, in which the Csf1r promoter conditionally drives AP20178-inducible Fas.
Results: CB-derived human DCs were able to generate de novo T-cell responses against rHA, as determined by a system of rigorous controls. Mice vaccinated intraperitoneally developed HA titers detectable at serum dilutions of >1:1000. HA seroconverters survived virus challenge, whereas unvaccinated controls and vaccinated nonseroconverters lost weight and died. Furthermore, use of a model of APC-specific immunosuppression revealed that DC vaccination could generate HA-specific antibody titers under conditions in which protein vaccination could not.
Conclusions: The model demonstrates that DC immunotherapy for the prevention of influenza is feasible, and studies are underway to determine whether populations of immunosuppressed individuals might ultimately benefit from the procedure.