Functional characterization of CD8(+) antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes after enrichment based on cytokine secretion: comparison with the MHC-tetramer technology.
Oelke M., Kurokawa T., Hentrich I., Behringer D., Cerundolo V., Lindemann A., Mackensen A.
Cell therapy with antigen-specific T cells holds promise for various diseases including cancer and viral infections. The powerful enrichment procedure based on major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-tetramers, however, is of limited applicability so far. Therefore, the recently developed cell surface affinity matrix technology that allows direct identification and enrichment of life antigen-specific T cells based on cytokine secretion was evaluated in this respect. To this end, CD8(+) T cells directed against the HLA-A(*)0201-restricted melanoma-associated peptide Melan-A (aa26-35) were generated by combining stimulation of peptide-pulsed autologous dendritic cells (DC) with antigen-independent expansion with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies (MoAb). Antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) were detected based on stimulation-induced interferon (IFN)-gamma and interleukin (IL)-4 secretion and enriched > 100-fold using the cell surface affinity matrix technology. The resulting IFN-gamma- and IL-4-secreting CTL lines contained > 80% and > 70% cytokine positive T cells, respectively. They exhibited a cytotoxic activity against Melan-A expressing target cells that was significantly higher as compared to nonpurified CTL. Direct staining of enriched CTL with HLA-A2-Melan-A-tetramers revealed a high correlation between the results obtained from the cell surface affinity matrix technology and those obtained from tetrameric complexes. Altogether, our study demonstrates that cytokine-driven enrichment based on the cell surface affinity matrix technology enables selective isolation of functionally active antigen-specific CTL that may be used for an adoptive T cell transfer in immunotherapy.