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Regulatory activity of azabisphosphonate-capped dendrimers on human CD4+ T cell proliferation enhances ex-vivo expansion of NK cells from PBMCs for immunotherapy

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Adoptive cell therapy with allogenic NK cells constitutes a promising approach for the treatment of certain malignancies. Such strategies are currently limited by the requirement of an efficient protocol for NK cell expansion. We have developed a method using synthetic nanosized phosphonate-capped dendrimers allowing such expansion. We are showing here that this is due to a specific inhibitory activity towards CD4+ T cell which could lead to further medical applications of this dendrimer. METHODS: Mononuclear cells from human peripheral blood were used to investigate the immunomodulatory effects of nanosized phosphonate-capped dendrimers on interleukin-2 driven CD4+T cell expansion. Proliferation status was investigated using flow cytometry analysis of CFSE dilution and PI incorporation experiments. Magnetic bead cell sorting was used to address activity towards individual or mixed cell sub-populations. We performed equilibrium binding assay to assess the interaction of fluorescent dendrimers with pure CD4+ T cells. RESULTS: Phosphonate-capped dendrimers are inhibiting the activation, and therefore the proliferation; of CD4+ T cells in IL-2 stimulated PBMCs, without affecting their viability. This allows a rapid enrichment of NK cells and further expansion. We found that dendrimer acts directly on T cells, as their regulatory property is maintained when stimulating purified CD4+ T cells with anti-CD3/CD28 microbeads. Performing equilibrium binding assays using a fluorescent analogue, we show that the phosphonate capped-dendrimers are specifically interacting with purified CD4+ T cells. Ultimately, we found that our protocol prevents the IL-2 related expansion of regulatory T cells that would be deleterious for the activity of infused NK cells. CONCLUSION: High yield expansion of NK cells from human PBMCs by phosphonate-capped dendrimers and IL-2 occurs through the specific inhibition of the CD4+ lymphocyte compartment. Given the specificity of the interaction of dendrimers with CD4+ T cell, we hypothesize that regulatory activity may signal through a specific receptor that remains to be identified. Therefore phosphonate-capped dendrimers constitute not only tools for the ex-vivo expansion of NK cells in immunotherapy of cancers but their mode of action could also lead to further medical applications where T cell activation and proliferation need to be dampened.
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Damien Portevin, Mary Poupot, Olivier Rolland, Cédric-Olivier Turrin, Jean-Jacques Fournié, et al.. Regulatory activity of azabisphosphonate-capped dendrimers on human CD4+ T cell proliferation enhances ex-vivo expansion of NK cells from PBMCs for immunotherapy. Journal of Translational Medicine, BioMed Central, 2009, 7, pp.82. ⟨10.1186/1479-5876-7-82⟩. ⟨inserm-02472246⟩

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