Functional heterogeneity of vaccine-induced CD8(+) T cells.
The functional status of circulating vaccine-induced, tumor-specific T cells has been questioned to explain their paradoxical inability to inhibit tumor growth. We enumerated with HLA-A*0201/peptide tetramers (tHLA) vaccine-elicited CD8(+) T cell precursor frequency among PBMC in 13 patients with melanoma undergoing vaccination with the HLA-A*0201-associated gp100:209-217(210 M) epitope. T cell precursor frequency increased from undetectable to 12,400 +/- 3,600 x 10(6) CD8(+) T cells after vaccination and appeared heterogeneous according to previously described functional subtypes: CD45RA(+)CD27(+) (14 +/- 2.6% of tHLA-staining T cells), naive; CD45RA(-)CD27(+) (14 +/- 3.2%), memory; CD45RA(+)CD27(-) (43 +/- 6%), effector; and CD45RA(-)CD27(-) (30 +/- 4.1%), memory/effector. The majority of tHLA(+)CD8(+) T cells displayed an effector, CD27(-) phenotype (73%). However, few expressed perforin (17%). Epitope-specific in vitro stimulation (IVS) followed by 10-day expansion in IL-2 reversed this phenotype by increasing the number of perforin(+) (84 +/- 3.6%; by paired t test, p < 0.001) and CD27(+) (from 28 to 67%; by paired t test, p = 0.01) tHLA(+) T cells. This conversion probably represented a change in the functional status of tHLA(+) T cells rather than a preferential expansion of a CD27(+) (naive and/or memory) PBMC, because it was reproduced after IVS of a T cell clone bearing a classic effector phenotype (CD45RA(+)CD27(-)). These findings suggest that circulating vaccine-elicited T cells are not as functionally active as inferred by characterization of IVS-induced CTL. In addition, CD45RA/CD27 expression may be more informative about the status of activation of circulating T cells than their status of differentiation.
Monsurrò, V; Nagorsen, D; Wang, E; Provenzano, M; Dudley, ME; Rosenberg, SA; Marincola, FM
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