Expansion of Human NK Cells Using K562 Cells Expressing OX40 Ligand and Short Exposure to IL-21.
ABSTRACT: Background: Natural Killer (NK) cell-based immunotherapy used to treat cancer requires the adoptive transfer of a large number of activated NK cells. Here, we report a new effective method to expand human NK cells ex vivo using K562 cells genetically engineered (GE) to express OX40 ligand (K562-OX40L) in combination with a short exposure to soluble IL-21. In addition, we describe a possible mechanism of the NK cell expansion through the OX40 receptor-OX40 ligand axis which is dependent on NK cell homotypic interaction. Methods: K562-OX40L cells were generated by lentiviral transduction and were used as feeder cells to expand and activate NK cells from PBMCs in the presence of IL-2/IL-15. Soluble IL-21 was also added in various concentrations only once at the beginning of the culture. NK cells were expanded for 4-5 weeks, and the purity, expansion rate, phenotype and function (cytotoxicity, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), cytokine production, CD107a degranulation) of these expanded NK cells were compared to those generated by using K562 feeder cells. Results: The culture of NK cells with K562-OX40L cells in combination with the transient exposure to IL-21 highly enhanced NK cell expansion to approximately 2,000-fold after 4 weeks of culture, compared to a 303-fold expansion using the conventional K562 cells. Mechanistically, the OX40-OX40L axis between the feeder cells and NK cells as well as the homotypic interaction between NK cells through the OX40-OX40L axis were both necessary for NK cell expansion. The short exposure of NK cells to IL-21 had a synergistic effect with OX40 signaling for NK cell expansion. Apart from their enhanced expansion, NK cells grown with K562-OX40L feeder cells were similar to those grown with conventional K562 cells in regard to the surface expression of various receptors, cytotoxicity, ADCC, cytokine secretion, and CD107 degranulation. Conclusion: Our data suggest that OX40 ligand is a potent co-stimulant for the robust expansion of human NK cells and the homotypic NK cell interactions through the OX40-OX40L axis is a mechanism of NK cell expansion.
Project description:Obtaining sufficient numbers of functional natural killer (NK) cells is crucial for the success of NK-cell-based adoptive immunotherapies. While expansion from peripheral blood (PB) is the current method of choice, ex vivo generation of NK cells from hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSCs) may constitute an attractive alternative. Thereby, HSCs mobilized into peripheral blood (PB-CD34+) represent a valuable starting material, but the rather poor and donor-dependent differentiation of isolated PB-CD34+ cells into NK cells observed in earlier studies still represents a major hurdle. Here, we report a refined approach based on ex vivo culture of PB-CD34+ cells with optimized cytokine cocktails that reliably generates functionally mature NK cells, as assessed by analyzing NK-cell-associated surface markers and cytotoxicity. To further enhance NK cell expansion, we generated K562 feeder cells co-expressing 4-1BB ligand and membrane-anchored IL-15 and IL-21. Co-culture of PB-derived NK cells and NK cells that were ex-vivo-differentiated from HSCs with these feeder cells dramatically improved NK cell expansion, and fully compensated for donor-to-donor variability observed during only cytokine-based propagation. Our findings suggest mobilized PB-CD34+ cells expanded and differentiated according to this two-step protocol as a promising source for the generation of allogeneic NK cells for adoptive cancer immunotherapy.
Project description:Interleukin-2 (IL-2) transgenic Ewing sarcoma cells can induce tumor specific T and NK cell responses and reduce tumor growth in vivo and in vitro. Nevertheless, the efficiency of this stimulation is not high enough to inhibit tumor growth completely. In addition to recognition of the cognate antigen, optimal T-cell stimulation requires signals from so-called co-stimulatory molecules. Several members of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily have been identified as co-stimulatory molecules that can augment antitumor immune responses. OX40 (CD134) and OX40 ligand (OX40L?=?CD252; also known as tumor necrosis factor ligand family member 4) is one example of such receptor/ligand pair with co-stimulatory function. In the present investigation, we generated OX40L transgenic Ewing sarcoma cells and tested their immunostimulatory activity in vitro. OX40L transgenic Ewing sarcoma cells showed preserved expression of Ewing sarcoma-associated (anti)gens including lipase member I, cyclin D1 (CCND1), cytochrome P450 family member 26B1 (CYP26B1), and the Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1-friend leukemia virus integration 1 (EWSR1-FLI1) oncogene. OX40L-expressing tumor cells showed a trend for enhanced immune stimulation against Ewing sarcoma cells in combination with IL-2 and stimulation of CD137. Our data suggest that inclusion of the OX40/OX40L pathway of co-stimulation might improve immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of Ewing sarcoma.
Project description:Clinical success of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy requires the engineering of autologous T cells, which limits the broader implementation of CAR cell therapy. The development of allogeneic and universal cell products will significantly broaden their application and reduce costs. Allogeneic natural killer (NK) cells can be used for universal CAR immunotherapy. Here, we develop an alternative approach for the rapid expansion of primary NK and CAR-NK cells with superior expansion capability and in vivo cytotoxicity from various sources (including peripheral blood, cord blood, and tumor tissue). We apply a human B-lymphoblastoid cell-line 721.221 (hereinafter, 221)-based artificial feeder cell system with membrane-bound interleukin 21 (mIL-21) to propagate NK and CAR-NK cells. The expansion capability, purity, and cytotoxicity of NK cells expanded with 221-mIL-21 feeder cells are superior to that of conventional K562-mIL-21 feeder cells. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data show that 221-mIL-21 feeder cell-expanded NK cells display a less differentiated, non-exhausted, limited fratricidal, memory-like phenotype correlated with enriched metabolic pathways, which explains underlying mechanisms. Thus, "off-the-shelf" NK and CAR-NK cells with superior functionalities and expansion using a genetically modified 221-mIL-21 feeder cell expansion system will greatly support clinical use of NK immunotherapy.
Project description:Immunotherapy has shown promising results in cancer treatment. Research shows that most patients might be resistant to these therapies. So, new immune therapies are needed. OX40 (CD134) and OX40 ligand (OX40L), costimulatory molecules, express on different types of immune cells. The interaction between OX40 and OX40L (OX40/OX40L) induces the expansion and proliferation of T cells and decreases the immunosuppression of regulatory T (Treg) cells to enhance the immune response to the specific antigen. For the important role OX40 takes in the process of immunity, many clinical trials are focusing on OX40 to find out whether it may have active effects in clinical cancer treatment. The results of clinical trials are still not enough. So, we reviewed the OX40 and its ligand (OX40L) function in cancer, clinical trials with OX40/OX40L and the correlation between OX40/OX40L and other immune checkpoints to add more ideas to tumor feasible treatment.
Project description:Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is one of the major obstacles for the success of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Here, we report that the interaction between OX40L and OX40 is of critical importance for both induction and progression of acute GVHD (aGVHD) driven by human T cells. Anti-human OX40L monoclonal antibody (hOX40L) treatment could thus effectively reduce the disease severity in a xenogeneic-aGVHD (x-aGVHD) model in both preventative and therapeutic modes. Mechanistically, blocking OX40L-OX40 interaction with an anti-hOX40L antibody reduces infiltration of human T cells in target organs, including liver, gut, lung, and skin. It also decreases IL-21- and TNF-producing T cell responses, while promoting regulatory T cell (Treg) responses without compromising the cytolytic activity of CD8+ T cells. Single blockade of hOX40L was thus more effective than dual blockade of IL-21 and TNF in reducing the severity of aGVHD as well as mortality. Data from this study indicate that OX40L-OX40 interactions play a central role in the pathogenesis of aGVHD induced by human T cells. Therapeutic strategies that can efficiently interrupt OX40L-OX40 interaction in patients might have potential to provide patients with an improved clinical benefit.
Project description:Neuroblastoma cells have been reported to be resistant to death induced by soluble, recombinant forms of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) (CD253/TNFSF10) because of low or absent expression of caspase-8 and/or TRAIL-receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2/DR5/CD262/TNFRSF10b). However, their sensitivity to membrane-bound TRAIL on natural killer (NK) cells is not known. Comparing microarray gene expression and response to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity, we observed a correlation between TRAIL-R2 expression and the sensitivity of 14 neuroblastoma cell lines to the cytotoxicity of NK cells activated with interleukin (IL)-2 plus IL-15. Even though most NK cytotoxicity was dependent upon perforin, the cytotoxicity was supplemented by TRAIL in 14 of 17 (82%) neuroblastoma cell lines as demonstrated using an anti-TRAIL neutralizing antibody. Similarly, a recently developed NK cell expansion system employing IL-2 plus lethally irradiated K562 feeder cells constitutively expressing membrane-bound IL-21 (K562 clone 9.mbIL21) resulted in activated NK cells derived from normal healthy donors and neuroblastoma patients that also utilized TRAIL to supplement cytotoxicity. Exogenous interferon-? upregulated expression of caspase-8 in 3 of 4 neuroblastoma cell lines and increased the contribution of TRAIL to NK cytotoxicity against 2 of the 3 lines; however, relatively little inhibition of cytotoxicity was observed when activated NK cells were treated with an anti-interferon-? neutralizing antibody. Constraining the binding of anti-TRAIL neutralizing antibody to membrane-bound TRAIL but not soluble TRAIL indicated that membrane-bound TRAIL alone was responsible for essentially all of the supplemental cytotoxicity. Together, these findings support a role for membrane-bound TRAIL in the cytotoxicity of NK cells against neuroblastoma cells.
Project description:The costimulatory molecule OX40 and its ligand, OX40L, mediate key aspects of allergic airway inflammation in animal models of asthma, including eosinophilic airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness, and T helper 2 polarization. We sought to examine OX40/OX40L and interleukin (IL)-4 expression in asthma across severities.Bronchial biopsies were obtained from 27 subjects with asthma (mild Global Initiative for Asthma [GINA] 1 [n = 10], moderate GINA 2-3 [n = 7], and severe GINA 4-5 [n = 10]) and 13 healthy controls. The number of OX40(+), OX40L(+), IL-4(+), and IL-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Ralpha)(+) cells in the lamina propria and airway smooth muscle (ASM) bundle and the intensity of IL-4Ralpha(+) expression by the ASM were assessed.The number of OX40(+), OX40L(+), and IL-4(+) cells in the lamina propria and OX40(+) and IL-4(+) cells in the ASM bundle was significantly increased in subjects with mild asthma, but not in those with moderate or severe asthma, compared with healthy controls. In the subjects with asthma, OX40/OX40L expression was positively correlated with the number of eosinophils and IL-4(+) cells in the lamina propria. The number of IL-4Ralpha(+) cells in the lamina propria was significantly increased in moderate-to-severe disease, but not in mild asthma, compared with controls. IL-4Ralpha expression by the ASM bundle was not different among groups.OX40/OX40L expression is increased in the bronchial submucosa in mild asthma, but not in moderate-to-severe disease, and is related to the degree of tissue eosinophilia and IL-4 expression. Whether these costimulatory molecules have a role as targets for asthma requires further investigation.
Project description:We have previously shown that OX40L/OX40 interaction is critical for TCR-independent selective proliferation of Foxp3+ Tregs, but not Foxp3- effector T-cells (Teff), when CD4+ T-cells are co-cultured with GM-CSF derived bone marrow dendritic cells (G-BMDCs). Events downstream of OX40L/OX40 interaction in Tregs responsible for this novel mechanism are not understood. Earlier, OX40L/OX40 interaction has been shown to stimulate CD4+ T-cells through the formation of a signalosome involving TRAF2/PKC-? leading to NF-kB activation. In this study, using CD4+ T-cells from WT and OX40-/- mice we first established that OX40 mediated activation of NF-kB was critical for this Treg proliferation. Although CD4+ T-cells from PKC-?-/- mice were also defective in G-BMDC induced Treg proliferation ex vivo, this defect could be readily corrected by adding exogenous IL-2 to the co-cultures. Furthermore, by treating WT, OX40-/-, and PKC-?-/- mice with soluble OX40L we established that OX40L/OX40 interaction was required and sufficient to induce Treg proliferation in vivo independent of PKC-? status. Although PKC-? is dispensable for TCR-independent Treg proliferation per se, it is essential for optimum IL-2 production by Teff cells. Finally, our findings suggest that OX40L binding to OX40 likely results in recruitment of TRAF1 for downstream signalling.
Project description:Earlier, we had demonstrated that treatment with low dose of GM-CSF can prevent the development of experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT), experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis, and type 1 diabetes, and could also reverse ongoing EAT and experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis. The protective effect was mediated through the induction of tolerogenic CD11C(+)CD8?(-) dendritic cells (DCs) and consequent expansion of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs). Subsequently, we showed that GM-CSF acted specifically on bone marrow precursors and facilitated their differentiation into tolerogenic dendritic cells (DCs; GM-CSF-induced bone marrow-derived DCs [GM-BMDCs]), which directed Treg expansion in a contact-dependent manner. This novel mechanism of Treg expansion was independent of TCR-mediated signaling but required exogenous IL-2 and cosignaling from DC-bound OX40L. In this study, we observed that OX40L-mediated signaling by GM-BMDCs, although necessary, was not sufficient for Treg expansion and required signaling by Jagged1. Concurrent signaling induced by OX40L and Jagged1 via OX40 and Notch3 receptors expressed on Tregs was essential for the Treg expansion with sustained FoxP3 expression. Adoptive transfer of only OX40L(+)Jagged1(+) BMDCs led to Treg expansion, increased production of IL-4 and IL-10, and suppression of EAT in the recipient mice. These results showed a critical role for OX40L- and Jagged1-induced cosignaling in GM-BMDC-induced Treg expansion.
Project description:Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common soft tissue malignancy in children. Despite intensive research in recent decades the prognosis for patients with metastatic or relapsed diseases has hardly improved. New therapeutic concepts in anti-tumor therapy aim to modulate the patient's immune system to increase its aggressiveness or targeted effects toward tumor cells. Besides surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, immune activation by direct application of cytokines, antibodies or adoptive cell therapy are promising approaches. In the last years, adoptive transfer of natural killer (NK) cells came into the focus of translational medicine, because of their high cytotoxic potential against transformed malignant cells. A main challenge of NK cell therapy is that it requires a high amount of functional NK cells. Therefore, ex vivo NK cell expansion protocols are currently being developed. Many culturing strategies are based on the addition of feeder or accessory cells, which need to be removed prior to the clinical application of the final NK cell product. In this study, we addressed feeder cell-free expansion methods using common ?-chain cytokines, especially IL-15 and IL-21. Our results demonstrated high potential of IL-15 for NK cell expansion, while IL-21 triggered NK cell maturation and functionality. Hence, we established a two-phase expansion protocol with IL-15 to induce an early NK cell expansion, followed by short exposure to IL-21 that boosted the cytotoxic activity of NK cells against RMS cells. Further functional analyses revealed enhanced degranulation and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interferon-? and tumor necrosis factor-?. In a proof of concept in vivo study, we also observed a therapeutic effect of adoptively transferred IL-15 expanded and IL-21 boosted NK cells in combination with image guided high precision radiation therapy using a luciferase-transduced RMS xenograft model. In summary, this two-phased feeder cell-free ex vivo culturing protocol combined efficient expansion and high cytolytic functionality of NK cells for treatment of radiation-resistant RMS.