Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were treated with a cellular vaccine, which consisted of autologous collagen-reactive T-cells. This study showed that antigen-specific proliferative activity of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly downregulated after T-cell vaccination in RA patients. T-cell vaccination resulted in a statistically significant decrease in plasma IFNγ levels and a concomitant increase in IL-4 levels in treated patients. Accordingly, following T-cell vaccination the number of IFNγ-producing CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells was decreased by 1.6-1.8-fold, which was paralleled by 1.7-fold increases in IL-4-producing CD4(+) T-cells. In addition, the present study showed 5-7-fold increase in the CD8(+)CD45RO(+)CD62L(-) effector memory T-cells and central memory T-cells (both CD4(+) CD45RO(+)CD62L(+) T-cells and CD8(+)CD45RO(+)CD62L(+) T-cells) in RA patients, as compared with healthy individuals. We observed significant reduction in CD4(+) and CD8(+) central memory T-cells, as well as reduction in CD8(+) effector memory T-cells in vaccinated patients in the course of the treatment. We also demonstrated that CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T-cell levels were significantly up-regulated in the peripheral blood of RA patients following T-cell vaccination. However, CD4(+)CD25(-)FoxP3(+) Т-cell levels did not significantly change during the entire T-cell vaccination course. In conclusion, the T-cell immunotherapy regimen used resulted in the clinical improvement, which was achieved in 87% patients.
Keywords: Keywords:T-cell vaccines; clinical study; regulatory T-cells; rheumatoid arthritis.