Introduction Adoptive cell transfer of ex vivo primed and expanded human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) has emerged as a promising approach to treat both infectious and malignant diseases in humans. First clinical studies have shown that transfer of Cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific CD8+ T cells is safe and effective in reconstitution of cellular immunity against CMV disease. Efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy is limited by the numbers of CTLs in vitro and the survival and function after infusion. CD4+ T cells may enhance activity via direct or indirect effector functions (Matloubian 1994 ). In this study we have analysed whether bone marrow is superior to peripheral blood for expansion of CMV-specific T cells. Experimental design Paired peripheral blood and bone marrow samples were obtained from patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty. By using two different protocols T cells were expanded in the presence of IL-2 and IL-7 either from bulk culture with exposure of two different peptide pools (IE1 and pp65) or after selection via IFN-γ secretion by stimulation with pp65. CMV specific immune responses were assessed by using multiparameter flow cytometry staining cells for CD3, CD4, CD8, CCR7 and CD45RA and for the cytokines IFN-γ IL-2 and TNF at day 0 and after 10 days of in vitro expansion.
Results Similar frequencies of cytokine-producing pp65– and IE1-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were found in unmanipulated paired PB and BM samples. Expansion of CMV-specific T cells from BM resulted in significantly higher frequencies of specific CD4+ T cells than from PB, whereas no difference in frequencies of CMV-specific CD8+ T cells was observed. Interestingly, significantly higher frequencies of BM pp65 and IE1-specific CD4+ T cells were multifunctional, characterized by producing simultaneously IFN-γ, TNF and IL-2 (IE1: BM mean 0.44% ± 0.16; PB mean 0.09% ± 0.05, p=0.031; pp65: BM mean 3.87% ± 2.46; PB mean 1.24% ± 0.90, p=0.031). Expansion of multi-functional CD4+ T cells from BM was observed with both the bulk and selection assay protocol. Both PB and BM CMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell lines had a predominant CD45RA-CCR7- effector memory phenotype.
Conclusions This study implicates the use of human bone marrow as a source for expansion of multifunctional CMV-specific CD4+ T cells. Recent studies in HIV and Leishmania support the crucial role of multifunctional T cells in disease control (Darrah 2007 ).
Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.