Interleukin-15 effectively potentiates the in vitro tumor-specific activity and proliferation of peripheral blood γδT cells isolated from glioblastoma patients
γδT cells play a regulatory role in both primary and metastatic tumor growth in humans. The mechanisms responsible for the activation and proliferation of circulating γδT cells should be fully understood prior to their adoptive transfer to cancer patients. We have examined in vitro functional effects of interleukin-15 (IL-15) on highly purified γδT cells isolated from glioblastoma patients. γδT cells constitutively express the heterotrimeric IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) αβγ, but the levels of IL-2Rβ or γ expression were not increased by incubation with saturating amounts of IL-15. IL-15 was shown to induce a maximal γδT cell proliferation, although at much higher concentrations (at least 2000 U/ml) than IL-2 (100 U/ml). Submaximal concentrations of IL-15 plus low concentrations of IL-2 produced an additive proliferative response. In contrast to the IL-2-induced response, this activity was completely or partially abrogated by anti-IL-2Rβ, or anti-IL-2Rγ antibodies, but not by anti-IL-2Rα antibodies. Incubation of γδT cells in the presence of IL-15 resulted not only in the appearance of NK and LAK activity, but also in specific autologous tumor cell killing activity, an additive effect being seen with IL-15 and IL-2. This IL-15-induced tumor-specific activity could be significantly blocked by anti-IL-2Rγ and anti-IL-2R-β mAb, but not by anti-IL-2Rα mAb. Thus, in contrast to IL-2, IL-15 activates tumor-specific γδT cells through the components of IL-2Rβ and IL-2Rγ, but not IL-2Rα. These enhanced in vitro tumor-specific and proliferative responses of γδT cells seen with IL-15 suggest a rational adjuvant imunotherapeutic use of γδT cells in cancer patients.
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