Artificial APCs (aAPCs) genetically modified to express selective costimulatory molecules provide a reproducible, cost-effective, and convenient method for polyclonal and Ag-specific expansion of human T cells for adoptive immunotherapy. Among the variety of aAPCs that have been studied, acellular beads expressing anti-CD3/anti-CD28 efficiently expand CD4+ cells, but not CD8+ T cells. Cell-based aAPCs can effectively expand cytolytic CD8+ cells, but optimal costimulatory signals have not been defined. 4-1BB, a costimulatory molecule expressed by a minority of resting CD8+ T cells, is transiently up-regulated by all CD8+ T cells following activation. We compared expansion of human cytolytic CD8 + T cells using cell-based aAPCs providing costimulation via 4-1BB vs CD28. Whereas anti-CD3/anti-CD28 aAPCs mostly expand naive cells, anti-CD3/4-1BBL aAPCs preferentially expand memory cells, resulting in superior enrichment of Ag-reactive T cells which recognize previously primed Ags and efficient expansion of electronically sorted CD8+ populations reactive toward viral or self-Ags. Using HLA-A2-Fc fusion proteins linked to 4-1BBL aAPCs, 3-log expansion of Ag-specific CD8+ CTL was induced over 14 days, whereas similar Ag-specific CD8+ T cell expansion did not occur using HLA-A2-Fc/anti-CD28 aAPCs. Furthermore, when compared with cytolytic T cells expanded using CD28 costimulation, CTL expanded using 4-1BB costimulation mediate enhanced cytolytic capacity due, in part, to NKG2D up-regulation. These results demonstrate that 4-1BB costimulation is essential for expanding memory CD8+ T cells ex vivo and is superior to CD28 costimulation for generating Ag-specific products for adoptive cell therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy